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Rollover Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides rollover ratings as a tool to help consumers choose a safer vehicle. Rollover ratings don’t tell you everything you need to know about a vehicle’s safety, such as crashworthiness, but they do give you some pertinent information about a vehicle’s likelihood to rollover.

Rollover ratings only apply to the likelihood of a vehicle to roll in a single vehicle crash, but since about 85% of rollovers are single vehicle accidents, this is very useful information. In 2004 the rollover rating system was revised, so that now it includes both the Static Stability Factor (SSF) and a dynamic maneuvering test.

Static Stability Factor (SSF)

SSF is a calculation based on the height of the vehicle’s center of gravity and the width of the wheel base. The result represents how top heavy a vehicle is, and therefore how likely it is to roll when tripped. Since tripping is involved in 95% of single vehicle rollovers, SSF is given more importance than the dynamic maneuvering test in determining rollover ratings.

Dynamic maneuvering test

The dynamic maneuvering test simulates the common scenario of a heavily loaded vehicle making a high speed maneuver to avoid a collision. The results, as used in the rating system are a simple tip-up or no tip-up. It is considered a tip up if both inside tires simultaneously lift at least two inches off the pavement.

The ratings

SSF and the tip no-tip results are combined to created the rollover rating in a simple five start system which tells you how likely your SUV is to crash. It is worth noting that vehicles tested prior to the change in 2004 are rated on SSF alone, without the dynamic maneuvering test. The ratings are as follows:

  • Five stars – Less than 10% chance of rollover
  • Four stars – 10% to 20% chance of rollover
  • Three stars – 20% to 30% chance of rollover
  • Two stars – 30% to 40% chance of rollover
  • One star – 40% or greater chance of rollover

What do rollover ratings mean to you?

Rollover rating is just one of many things that you need to know about a vehicle’s safety before you buy. The NHTSA also provides ratings for likelihood of serious injuries from frontal and side collisions.

Frontal crash tests (using dummies) measure impact to the head, chest, and legs in a crash which simulates a collision between two identical vehicles moving at 35 miles per hour. Ratings represent a belted occupant’s likelihood of suffering serious injuries.

Side impact crash tests involve ramming a 3,015-pound barrier moving at 38.5 mph into a standing vehicle. Side impact crash ratings only give the likelihood of life threatening chest injury to belted occupants.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an SUV rollover accident, please e-mail us today to speak with an experienced SUV rollover lawyer.


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