How to Reduce Neck Injury Risk During a Rear-end Collision
According to a ConsumerReports.org article, rear-end collisions happen every 17 seconds in the United States. Cars manufactured before 2009 do not offer enough whiplash injury protection.
Whiplash occurs when a person's head snaps forward and backward during a motor vehicle collision. This movement hyperextends the neck and injures the ligaments and nerves, causing a lack of mobility and persistent pain. Whiplash can transpire at accident speeds as slow as 10 MPH.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that neck strains and sprains are the most reported injuries. Medical experts believe that taller people, especially taller women, are most prone to suffer whiplash injuries.
Front-seat head restraints placed in newer vehicles have improved a lot. However, rear-seat restraints have not been improved. Many vehicles' rear seats use less sophisticated head restraints, and most rear middle seats have no restraints at all. If a rear-seat restraint is not high enough, the person riding in that seat has no protection.
More and more vehicles are being manufactured with more head restraints in all rear seats. But these head restraints can make it more difficult for drivers to check their blindspots or see the rear windows.
Maximum whiplash protection requires the top of the head restraint to reach as high as the top of your ears or the top of your head and 4 inches from the bottom of your head. Head restraints are only effective when passengers adjust them properly. Some automakers now include "active" head restraints that automatically move forward and up to catch the person's head in a rear-end collision.
How to Prevent Whiplash
- Buy a vehicle with a good rear-collision crash rating.
- Adjust your head restraint.
- Always wear a safety belt.
- Sit upright.
- Avoid tailgating.
Did you or a member of your family sustain a whiplash injury in an auto accident?
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