You’ve seen it in the movies and on the nightly news: An animal jumps in front of a car, or a car ahead suddenly slams on its brakes, or a driver swerves to miss hitting something and hits a wet patch or rams into the guardrail, sending the car spinning out of control and flipping upside down. But what if it was happening for real? What if it was happening to you? Would you know what to do?

Rollover accidents only account for about three percent of total accidents, but they cause about one-fourth of fatalities. In fact, more than half of people killed in single-vehicle car accidents are from rollovers.

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Here are the steps to take, should you find yourself in a rollover accident:

Ready Yourself for the Rollover

If your vehicle begins to tip and you suspect it is about to roll over, immediately remove your feet from the pedals to prevent ankle breakage. Release the steering wheel, crossing your arms against your chest as you press your body deep into the seat. Make sure not to lean forward when the car rolls, as this can increase the occurrence of arm breaks and traumatic brain injury.

Remain Calm & Check for Injury

When the car has stopped rolling, brace your feet against the floor to stabilize your body in stillness and assess the damage to yourself and your passengers. Everyone should run their hands across their head/hair checking for broken glass, blood or severe injury that may not be immediately noticed in the event of traumatic incident. Take a few deep breaths to recalibrate your nervous system. If anyone is injured, do not move them. Call 911 immediately.

Turning Off the Engine

If your vehicle has landed upside-down, turn off your engine immediately and begin to plan your exit strategy.

Exiting the Vehicle

If you land upside-down and you appear to be uninjured, reach toward your ceiling, bracing yourself with one hand while stabilizing your feet on the floor of the vehicle, and then undo your seat belt. Be extremely careful, as this is where the majority of post-rollover injuries occur. Check your windows to determine the safest exit and crawl towards it. If the integrity of the car has been sustained, the door may open freely. If not, you’ll need to either roll down or break a window to create an escape route, being careful to clear away any glass shards or debris before exiting. Once you’re free of the car, assist any passengers with their exit and then move as quickly as possible away from the vehicle, in case of a possible fuel leak, which could cause an explosion.

Stay Clear of Traffic

People have survived rollovers only to be hit by oncoming traffic moments later. Stay off the road and on the shoulder, as far from traffic as possible. If you have not already done so, call 911, waiting there until help arrives.

Rollover accidents are serious and commonly result in head trauma and spinal cord injuries. If you’ve been involved in a rollover accident, call the attorneys at Meshbesher and Spence for a free consultation.