A car accident in Rexburg Idaho left two minors critically injured. The accident happened on Saturdy on Highway 20 just south of the Sugar City exit. The Chevy pickup truck involved at the scene had reportedly rolled over, and one of the occupants was thrown from the vehicle. One occupant was LifeFlighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and the other occupant was transported by ground ambulance. Reports today say that the driver was a 16 year old male and the passenger was a 6 year old relative. Both are doing well and one is expected to be released form the Intensive Care Unit on Monday.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 95% of single-vehicle rollovers occur when the vehicle is tripped in some way. Tripping happens when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, allowing the tires to dig into soft substrate or strike an object, like a curb or a guardrail. The force applied to the tires in these situations can cause torque which can then trigger a rollover. Curbs, soft soil/shoulders, guardrails, pavement surface inconsistencies, snow banks, and other objects can all cause the vehicle to trip. Generally, tripping happens when a vehicle is traveling in a forward direction, usually at a high speed. If one side of the vehicle rides up onto an object, it may be forced to roll over in order to conserve momentum. Steep slopes can also cause a rollover. If a driver misjudges the steeples of a hill as a turn is attempted, the center of gravity can cause the vehicle to roll over and tumble down the hill. Animations of these types of rollovers, as well as more general information on the physics behind rollover crashes, can be found at www.safercar.gov.