Rollovers occur in one of two ways:
NHTSA data show that 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. This happens when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high tripping force applied to the tires in these situations can cause the vehicle to roll over.
One of the best ways to avoid a rollover, therefore, is to stay on the road. Electronic Stability Control is a promising new technology that will help drivers stay on the road in emergency situations.
Un-tripped rollovers are less common than tripped rollovers, occurring less than 5% of the time, and mostly to top-heavy vehicles. Instead of an object serving as a tripping mechanism, un-tripped rollovers usually occur during high-speed collision avoidance maneuvers.