Whiplash Prevention and Vehicle Safety

whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most prevalent injuries suffered in automotive collisions. Surprisingly enough, individuals may sustain this type of injury when accidents occur while driving under 10 mph. While the tissue damage is treatable, preventing the possibility of suffering the injury is preferred. There are numerous safety tips that help avoid the situation.

Use Head Rests Properly

When appropriately positioned, head rests are designed to provide protection if involved in a rear end collision. The cushioned pillow-like device prevents the head and neck from sudden backward jolts. However, occupants only benefit from the protection when the rest extends anywhere from the top of the ears or higher. Unfortunately, in the majority of vehicles, the rests are commonly pushed into the lowest “down” position.

Steering Wheel Angle

Steering wheels today contain protective airbags. However, when deployed, the force of inflation and contact may cause whiplash. The problem occurs when steering wheels are tilted toward a driver’s chest or face. Avoiding injury from an airbag means having the wheel tilted facing the abdomen. When a vehicle is used by more than one family member, it is common for drivers to reposition the seat. For safety reasons, the driver should be a minimum of 10 inches from the steering wheel.

Seat Belts

Seat belts are the oldest and most common form of vehicle occupant protection. Nevertheless, unless adjusted and worn properly, the belts afford little defense against injury. The lap belt should be positioned over the hip and pelvic region, not over the stomach. The shoulder belt must cross over the body from the hip to the shoulder without making contact with the neck. Safety experts warn against positioning the shoulder restraint under the arm or behind the back.

Advanced Sensor Protection

Through ongoing research and testing efforts, automotive manufactures develop new and improved means of keeping vehicle occupants safer. In lieu of the fact that many different sizes of people travel in vehicles, sensors now determine the heights and weights of passengers, seating position, movement while traveling, the presence of child seats and automobile speed. The bags are now designed to accommodate for all of these factors by opening in multiple stages to provide optimal protection.

Automatic Cruise Control

The cruise control technology developed today does far more than keeping a designated speed. Radar, sensors and cruise control electronics now combine to adjust speed and brakes in an effort to maintain safe distances from other vehicles out front. If the newer systems sense an imminent collision, brakes automatically slow the vehicle and seat belts tighten. When the danger subsides, the vehicle resumes the former speed. Depressing the brake pedal disarms the system.

Collision Detection

The technology alerts drivers when vehicles or objects appear in a blind spot. When sensing danger, the system responds by turning on a light on a mirror, vibrating the seat or steering wheel, or initiating an audible alarm. Digital technology monitors all of the areas around a vehicle. For example, lane departure technology engages an alarm if a vehicle veers into another lane without the use of a turn signal.

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