As we’ve discussed recently in this space, auto accidents are some of the most common causes of whiplash out there. Whiplash, which is a type of hyper-extension injury that involves pushing or pulling of the neck due to trauma or impact, can have several negative results, from basic pain symptoms to headaches and future physical issues.
At Peterson Chiropractic, we provide chiropractic care specifically for people who have been in car accidents and may have whiplash and other symptoms. Car accident neck pain and whiplash symptoms may not be avoidable in certain major collisions, but did you realize there are some precautions you can take to limit your level of risk here? Let’s go over some vehicle-related areas to consider here, including some you have direct control over when driving on a daily basis.
Vehicle Safety Ratings
For starters, your commitment to safety – not only from whiplash, but in several vehicle-related areas – begins with your choice of vehicle to begin with. Cars have become safer and safer over the years, and as this has become a bigger priority on the market, safety ratings have become a huge factor in vehicle pricing and the models people choose.
Safety ratings cover numerous areas, from seatbelt and airbag quality to collision tolerance and various other areas. Modern technology also allows for areas like motion sensors and driver warnings that reduce the risk of collisions to begin with – if you’re never in an accident, you’re safe from vehicle-related whiplash. If you’re purchasing a new or used vehicle anytime in the near future, be sure to consider safety ratings and particular safety elements at the top of your list.
Seat Location and Alignment
One area that’s well within your control is the placement of the seats for anyone sitting in the vehicle. Think about what happens during a vehicle collision: You can’t really control your own movements, and are mostly at the whims of gravity and physical force.
For this reason, placing seats properly is vital. Seats should sit at no more than a 20-degree angle, which ensures your back will be properly supported in a collision. We also highly recommend placing the seat close enough to the steering wheel that there isn’t enough space for your head to rock back and forth too heavily, the kind of whipping sensation that can lead to whiplash – but also not placing it too close, either, as this risks direct impact with the steering wheel.
Head Restraint Considerations
Finally, placing your head cushions and restraints properly goes a long way. Whiplash doesn’t just refer to forward and backward movement – it can also be to either side, and proper head cushions can cut off a large chunk of the horizontal whipping that’s possible here.
The back headrest also plays a huge role in cushioning forward and backward whipping. It should be level with your head or slightly above it, sitting a couple inches behind your head while in your normal seated position.
For more on vehicle safety areas to limit the risks of whiplash in a collision, or to learn about any of our chiropractic adjustment services, speak to the staff at Peterson Chiropractic today.