facts about road safety
Always wear seat belts including shoulder harnesses. Many fatal crashes occur at relatively low speeds. Wearing your seat belt more than doubles your chance of surviving a motor vehicle crash. That is not to say that there have been no seatbelt related injuries recorded. While seatbelts decrease the risk of fatality, they increase the risk of some injuries such as whiplash or Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration (CAD) injuries. It’s not uncommon to see bruises, friction burns, cracked ribs, CAD injuries, and TMJ problems resulting from a crash involving a seatbelt.
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Bracing for Impact
There’s a growing misconception that you can brace for an impact against the steering wheel to avoid serious injury in a frontal crash. At a collision speed of 25 mph, passengers will experiences forces equivalent to that of a fall from the 3 rd floor.
Many people believe that airbags are safer and more effective than traditional seat belts. This is probably due to a belief that they are a more modern safety feature. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Airbags are a Supplement Restraint System (SRS). They are designed to be used concurrently with seat belts for the best protection. Airbags alone are actually much less effective than seat belts alone. They offer the most protection in a motor vehicle crash when used together. Just remember, military fighter planes all have seat belts…none of them have airbags for a reason. Airbags deploy at speeds up to 200 mph. It does not feel like a pillow when you make contact with a fully deployed airbag. Common airbag deployment injuries include: abrasions, contusions, whiplash, friction burns, inflammation, swelling, and sometimes fractures. Whenever possible, keep your hands away from the airbag module in the event of a deployment. All this withstanding, they do a great job of keeping you alive in a crash.
Special Risk Occupants
People that are short seated within 10 inches of the steering wheel are at risk of being struck by deploying airbags. Under these circumstances, injuries can be serious or even fatal. Always adjust your seat, seatback, head restraint, steering wheels, and control pedals properly to prevent injuries. If you’re unsure what the optimum positioning should be for you, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you.
CAUTION: Not all airbags are created equally. Recently, there has been an epidemic involving the installation of stolen airbags, sub-standard airbags, or inappropriate airbags. The worst case scenario is when no airbag is replaced at all after a collision. It’s not unheard of to be sold a car from which the airbag was purposely removed only to be resold.
Annually, nearly 3 Million people suffer a whiplash or Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Injury (CAD). Half of those individuals are left with chronic problems. 10% become permanently disabled. Making matters worse, only 25% of the general population knows how to correctly position their head restraints. Simply adjusting your head restraint properly can help you avoid a cervical injury. It’s important to adjust the head restraint as close as possible to the head as possible, and level with the top of your head. Some car companies, like Volvo and Saab, have effective anti-whiplash devices. Sadly, most cars don’t.
Child Restraint Systems (CRS)
Research shows that 40% of children involved in fatal crashes are unbelted. Child Restraint Systems provide more safety than standard seatbelts. Furthermore, the research also shows that most parents either don’t use them, or don’t use CRS properly. Whenever possible, children under 12 years of age should ride in the back seat. If you’re not sure how to properly install such a system, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you.
Preparation for a Rear Impact Collision
If you’re about to be hit from the rear, you can take the following measures:
1. Sit fully back in your seat
2. Look straight ahead while placing your head firmly in the head restraint
3. Shrug your shoulders firmly to limit your neck motion
4. If stopped, apply the brake firmly
5. Place your hands flat against the steering wheel if you’re the driver
How to Choose a Safe Vehicle
1. Larger cars are safer than smaller cars
2. Heavier cars are safer than lighter cars
3. 3 to 5 times greater risk of death when crashing into a car that is twice as heavy
4. SUV’s are more prone to rollover, take longer to stop, and handle poorly
5. Pick-ups and large vans handle poorly compared to passenger cars
6. Minivans generally have good crash rating, fuel economy, and handling characteristics