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Four people were injured on Interstate 73 near Greensboro, North Carolina on June 11, 2010 when Jasmine Tashe` Harper overturned the SUV she was driving. Ms. Harper was attempting to change lanes and overcorrected the automobile after realizing someone was in her blind spot.

Luckily, though the accident victims were taken to Moses Cone Hospital with serious injuries, none of their injuries were life-threatening. Passengers in the automobile at the time of the accident included Lawanda Ann Smith, 34, Angelo Harper, 14, and four-year-old Marvin Eugene Smith, Jr., who sustained the most significant injury. According to the accident report on the incident, he was wearing a lap seat belt instead of a safety belt with both a shoulder and lap restraint. Fortunately, Marvin, was in a child seat, which probably prevented him from being ejected from the vehicle.

SUVs are notorious for flipping during accidents. The cars are “top-heavy” with a higher center of gravity than a sedan for example. The shape and size of SUVs makes them prone to rolling over when they are over steered, especially at high speeds.

If you are considering driving or purchasing an SUV, consider the potential hazard of roll-overs during collisions. Find out if the vehicle is equipped with electronic stability control (ESC), which reduces single-vehicle fatal crash involvement “by 51 percent and could reduce the risk of rolling over by 75 percent for SUVs,” according to iihs.org. The feature will be a safety standard required by NHTSA by the 2012 model year, but you might seriously consider a model that already has ESC if you want to own an SUV now.

If you currently drive an SUV, practice safe driving. Check your speed, check your blind spots. These precautions should be more than just good habits for you; they should come as naturally as driving with your eyes open! Insist that your passengers wear proper restraints. That means buckle up for adults and keep small children in child safety seats. Wearing safety belts seriously reduces the risk of ejection during any type of accident.

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