How to Prevent Whiplash

How to Prevent WhiplashLearn how to prevent whiplash. Research shows that most whiplash injuries in Denver occur from rear-end collisions.

How to Prevent Whiplash Injuries

Airbags and Seat Belts: Airbags and seat belts are fortunately no longer “optional” and have become standard equipment in every vehicle. While airbags and seat belts can result in injuries during an accident, they will save your life. Front and side airbags save thousands of lives every year. If your vehicle does have airbags, be sure to follow up on any recalls involving your airbag or vehicle. Of course, you should also always wear your seat belt.

Headrest Height: Your headrest must be set at the proper height. The perfect height is just high enough that your head and neck don’t slide over the top in an accident or collision. An improperly placed headrest will increase the risk of injuring the neck’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, and discs. Be sure to position the headrest within 3 to 4 inches of the back of your head while driving. Reducing the spacing between your head and the headrest lowers the risk of suffering a brain injury in a rear-end collision.

There are steps you can take to prevent whiplash injuries during a car accident.

Seat Back Position: Studies have shown that passengers have a higher risk of injury if fully upright. Alternatively, a seat back that leans too far back can act as a “ramp.” It can cause the torso to slide up the seat, allowing the head to slide over the headrest. Again, this increases the risk of injury. Having the seat too pitched too far forward also increases the risk of injury.

Body Size of Vehicle Occupants: How seriously someone will be injured in a car accident really comes down to physics. Studies repeatedly show the potential for injury in a car accident is related to the size of the occupants. This includes the position of the head and neck and the strength of the neck muscles. Studies report that head position during the accident (e.g. looking to one side vs. looking straight ahead), has a great effect on injuries. Smaller muscle mass also increases the potential for neck injury in a rear-end collision.

What About Texting and Driving?

A survey of 6,000 drivers conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed 20% of those surveyed in the 18 to 20 age group and 30% of those 21-34 years of age claimed texting does not affect their driving.

Interestingly, 1 in 10 of the drivers in the study had been in a crash or “near-crash” in the prior year. Men were at a slightly higher risk than women. Young drivers, those 18-20 years old, had the highest incidence of crashes or near-crash experiences (23%) compared with all other age groups, while interestingly, drivers aged 65 years and older had the lowest (8%). The younger drivers reported almost double the number of crashes (17%) as drivers in their early 20s (9%) and up to four times more than the other age groups (4-6%).

Research Shows Dangers of Texting and Driving

Of the 718 drivers involved in a crash or near-crash in the previous year, 6% reported phone usage at the time (4% talking, 1% sending a text or email, and 1% reading a text or email). The young driver (18-20 years old) group reported the highest cell phone use (13%) at the time of the crash or near-crash (2% talking, 8% sending a text or email, 3% were reading a text or email). The highest incidence of talking on the phone at the time of crash/near-crash was in the age 25-34 group (10%). Not too long ago, we reported statistics comparing texting to drunk driving, and the data was sobering. Researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Australia found that texting severely impaired driving skills, as participants spent 400% more time with their eyes off the road!

Hands-free devices are NOT without risks either. We are distracted when talking, whether on the phone or with the person sitting beside us. Interestingly, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reported that voice-to-text offers no safety advantage over manual texting. At the same time, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said voice-activated in-car technologies “dangerously undermine driver attention.”

Denver Whiplash Treatment

If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important that you seek treatment from a qualified Whiplash Doctor. Schedule an appointment for a FREE Auto Accident Injury Evaluation. Treatment of whiplash injuries can include chiropractic, acupuncture, and laser therapy.


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