Around six million car accidents take place each year in the US, claiming the lives of 90 people a day. A further three million people are left severely injured, with two million suffering injuries that leave them with long-term disabilities. Unfortunately, no matter how many safety features are added to cars, driving and traveling in a vehicle will always carry some degree of risk. Considering how common vehicle crashes are, it’s very likely that most drivers and passengers will experience at least one crash in their lifetime. While there are many common causes for road accidents, drivers and passengers can significantly reduce their risk of getting injured with a few simple precautions.
Regular Vehicle Maintenance
While it’s imperative that you always follow the road rules and always drive sober, many crashes are either caused or exacerbated by vehicles in poor condition. If you drive regularly, you must perform regular maintenance on your car. This should include checking tire pressure, performing oil changes, rotating tires, replacing old spark plugs and worn brake pads, checking battery life, and replacing wiper blades and air filters when necessary.
Adjust The Headrest
It’s not unusual for a driver or passenger to submit a whiplash claim after a vehicle collision. Over two million people suffer whiplash injuries each year, and this occurs when the car is hit in the rear and the seats move the occupants forward. This can cause the head and neck to jolt forward then backward in a whip-like motion. This movement can overstretch the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back. To avoid whiplash injuries, the head restraint must be positioned behind the head to support the head if the body is pushed forward.
While airbags are fitted to protect you from being thrown around in a heavy collision, they can themselves cause injuries and burns. Position the car seat as far from the airbags as possible – even the driver’s seat. Drivers need to sit as far from the airbags as they can while still reaching the steering wheel and pedals comfortably. Safety features such as seatbelts and airbags are designed around a passenger or driving sitting upright, so don’t underestimate the importance of good posture when sitting in a car. Sitting up straight with your feet flat on the floor ensures the vehicle’s safety features will be most effective in the event of a crash.
A road traffic collision can have life-changing consequences. While tens of thousands of people die on our roads each year, many people who survive are left with life-long injuries. Taking a few simple precautions such as regular vehicle maintenance and adjusting the headrest and seat position can make all the difference in ensuring you escape a crash without serious injury.