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The Dangers of Large Vehicles

While large vehicles increase safety for their occupants, they detract from everyone else’s. In fact, for every 1,000 pounds larger one vehicle is, the occupants of the smaller vehicle have a 47 percent increased chance of dying in a collision. Large cars are more prevalent now than ever, with the average car weighing 4,009 pounds. Taller vehicles pose an additional risk to others and further increase the chance of a fatality. So while those who drive large cars protect themselves, they are increasing the likelihood of harm or death to those who drive smaller vehicles, walk, or ride bikes for transportation.

Tall Vehicles are Prone to Rollovers

One arena where larger vehicles are not always safer than smaller is when it comes to rollovers. Large automobiles like SUVs, pickup trucks, and passenger vans have very high centers of gravity, which puts them at a high chance of rolling over. Additionally, SUVs and other tall vehicles tend to have narrower wheelbases, in comparison to their height, which puts them at further risk of rolling over. When it comes to SUVs specifically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2013, 40 percent of occupant fatalities in SUVs were in the category marked as “Other (mostly rollover).” That same “Other (mostly rollover)” category only made up 23 percent of car occupant fatalities. Large vehicles, in general, are harder to control and roll over easier. However, one specific type of vehicle is more dangerous than most.

Stepping Foot In a Large Passenger Van Can Be Lethal

Fifteen-passenger vans are used to transport youth and church groups, and they are used as airport shuttles, by sports teams, schools, and countless other scenarios when a standard van is too small and a bus is too large or expensive. While they are certainly convenient for transporting large numbers of people, they are one of the most, if not the most, dangerous vehicle on the roads. The more people they carry or the more loaded they are, which is their intended purpose, the more dangerous they become. The problem with 15 passenger vans is not just that they are tall, carry large loads up high, and have proportionally narrow wheelbases; 15 passenger vans also have seating that extends well beyond the rear axle, which drastically decreases a driver’s control in an emergency braking situation or steering in general. When they are fully loaded, 15 passenger vans are three times more likely to rollover in an emergency.

Rollovers: Speed, Alcohol, and Rural Areas

The type of automobile driven is not the only factor when it comes to rollovers. Eighty-five percent of fatal rollovers involved only one vehicle. Of those single-vehicle rollovers, 90 percent of the drivers were following standard driving routines such as driving in a straight line or navigating a turn, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means that they were doing something dangerous such as looking down from the road, speeding, or under the influence of alcohol. In fact, excessive speed, alcohol, and driving in rural areas are factors involved in the majority of fatal rollover accidents.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident, finding an experienced accident attorney in Central Ohio can help you seek the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. Call Schottenstein Law Offices at (614) 467-8474 to schedule your free consultation.