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Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

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You have no doubt overheard someone at work or at a party telling his friends that he never wears a seat belt—and that he has some really good reasons.  The story usually goes something like this:  He heard from a buddy he knows that a friend of a friend who was not wearing a seat belt had a bad car accident and walked away from it because he was thrown clear of the car.  This is one of the most pervasive car safety myths out there. And if you believe this myth, you could be setting yourself up for serious injury or death.

Although there are a small handful of cases in which someone has survived a car accident after being thrown from the car, this is a very rare occurrence.  In fact, you actually have a 25 percent greater chance of being killed if thrown from the car.  Just consider the physics of the situation.  The force applied to your body when a collision occurs can be strong enough to propel you 150 feet, which is equivalent to about 15 car lengths.  And you would not just be flying gracefully through the air either.  First, your body may go crashing through the windshield, it may scrape along the rough asphalt for yards, and then you could end up getting crushed by your own car or someone else’s.  This is not to mention the other objects you may be hurled into when flung from the car.  Statistics from a study performed by researchers at James Madison University show that the proper use of a seat belt reduces serious injuries from traffic accidents by 50 percent and fatalities by 60 to 70 percent.  It’s a simple thing that can protect your health and save your life—wear seat belts.

Another common myth is that bracing for impact causes more damage to your body, and that it’s best to remain relaxed.  Of course, actually having the ability to choose one way or another about bracing has a lot to do with how much time you have before impact.   Many accidents occur in the blink of an eye, so suggesting that someone should “stay relaxed” has really limited practical value.  However, the most current science indicates that if you have time, bracing for impact will likely reduce the amount of injury, particularly to tendons and ligaments.

One of the most common types of injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which occurs in about a third of all collisions.  If you see a car approaching in your rear view mirror that you believe is going to collide with yours, the best thing to do is to press your body against the seatback, with your head pressed firmly against the head rest. This way you are less likely to suffer injuries to the ligaments in your neck, as your head will not be slammed back against the head rest, then flung forward.

Auto accidents are never pleasant, but by knowing the facts about auto safety you can help reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury.  If you do end up in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a medical evaluation promptly, even if you think you haven’t suffered any significant injuries.  Many auto injuries take time for their symptoms to become apparent or significant enough for victims to recognize how badly they may have been hurt.  By the time the symptoms are obvious, the victim and his or her doctor may have lost a valuable opportunity to treat the underlying injuries.  Please call or visit the office if you or someone in your family has recently been involved in an auto accident.

Most Common Auto Injuries Explained

Most Common Auto Injuries Explained

Perhaps the most frequent injury involving automobiles comes from closing the door. Nearly 150,000 times a year, someone is injured in this fashion, and that’s with the car parked or stationary. This includes doors closing on fingers. Another 10,000 are injured by using a jack and 74,000 have been injured by a car or car part falling on them.

But cars also move. Roughly one third of auto-related injuries occur due to an automobile striking someone, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists. Injuries can include anything from simple scrapes to multiple broken bones, dislocated vertebrae and damaged internal organs.

A Forbes magazine article noted that researchers from the US Department of Transportation “estimated an annual total of 1,747 fatalities and 841,000 injuries due to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents.” These included back-overs and single-car collisions not on a highway.

During a collision, passengers can be thrown about within the car, or be ejected from the vehicle (particularly if not wearing a seatbelt), causing significant injuries. One of the most serious of these is called traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is when the brain becomes bruised or otherwise injured. This can happen when the head is forced into rapid acceleration and/or deceleration from impact with other objects, such as a windshield, the body of the car or objects outside of the car. Such brain injuries can result in brain function impairment or even death.

Neck injuries include whiplash and vertebrae disk damage. These can result in a range of effects from persistent, long-term discomfort to debilitating pain and even immobility. Whiplash is perhaps the most common malady, which happens when the neck snaps quickly backward (during acceleration), then forward (during deceleration), causing hyperflexion and hyperextension of the cervical vertebrae. After an accident, the victim may be unaware of any damage, but may experience headaches or neck stiffness hours or days later.

A chiropractor can recognize this kind of damage using a variety of diagnostic tests with and can treat it with multiple adjustments, massage therapy and repetitive exercises performed by the patient at home. The chiropractor may even recommend a traction weight bag to help the neck return to its natural curve. Sometimes the damage is permanent, but treatment can reduce the discomfort and decrease in range of motion that might otherwise plague the patient.

Damage anywhere along the spine can occur during a car accident. This type of injury can range from mild to life-threatening. Dislocated vertebrae can result in excruciating pain that can lead to tight back muscles which intensify the problem. Physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments can help return the patient to health. Rehabilitative therapy can also include hot packs, massage, cold packs, traction, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and other methods.

When the spine is injured, symptoms can include difficulty breathing, tingling, numbness, paralysis, arm weakness, leg weakness, and unusual bladder or bowel control. If you are experiencing these or other unusual symptoms, seek proper care from a chiropractor or other health professional immediately.

Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Even if your recent fender bender didn’t seem too serious, there’s still a very real chance that you or your passengers may have been hurt. That’s because even the most minor car accidents can cause hidden injuries and delayed symptoms. And while damage to your car is likely obvious and easy to assess, evaluating damage to your body may be far more difficult. In fact, it’s not unusual for a driver or passenger to walk away from a collision with potentially serious musculoskeletal injuries (such as a concussion or whiplash), without knowing it.

Because of the stress response, right after an accident the body’s defenses are on high alert. Any pain may be masked by endorphins produced by the body during and shortly after this kind of traumatic event. Endorphins help the body manage pain and stress and can create a temporary euphoria or “high” feeling. When the threat of the accident is gone, endorphin production slowly disappears, allowing you to feel pain that may have remained hidden earlier.

Perhaps the most common delayed symptom is that of whiplash. Whiplash consists of soft tissue damage in the neck from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head, creating hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck. This can not only cause damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your neck, it can also occasionally fracture or dislocate vertebrae and cause any of the following symptoms to show up later:

  • Headaches
  • Reduced range of motion or difficulty moving
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle spasms
  • Localized weakness or numbness
  • Stiffness in shoulders and arms

 

Every bit as serious as any broken bones or lacerations, a concussion can prove to be a grave threat to your health. Quite simply, a concussion is the result of the brain colliding with the inside of the skull from a rapid acceleration or deceleration. Not all concussions occur because of bumping the head. If the head is restrained in any way and the restraint suddenly stops or suddenly jerks into motion, a concussion may occur. Symptoms of concussion include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Bad temper
  • Nausea
  • Spasms
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating or reasoning
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Tiredness, sleeplessness, or other problems with your ability to sleep

 

The key point with any of these symptoms is to know whether or not you had them before the accident. Someone who knows you or lives with you can help identify any changes in your behavior that may indicate a possible concussion. If you didn’t have a symptom that you’re now experiencing, see your doctor right away.

In addition to the health consequences of car accidents with delayed symptoms, there is also the insurance aspect to consider. Because many accident-related injuries don’t show up immediately, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the medical expenses from any delayed symptoms if you settle with your insurance company right away. Therefore, consider waiting a few days before signing any release of liability so that any delayed symptoms have an opportunity to reveal themselves. Seeing a chiropractor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident is also a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. In many cases, seeking appropriate medical care soon after an accident can improve your chances of a more complete and more rapid recovery.

If you have been in an accident, you can call Oblander Chiropractic at 406-652-3553 to schedule an exam with Dr. Oblander.

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Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You have no doubt overheard someone at work or at a party telling his friends that he never wears a seat belt—and that he has some really good reasons.  The story usually goes something like this:  He heard from a buddy he knows that a friend of a friend who was not wearing a seat belt had a bad car accident and walked away from it because he was thrown clear of the car.  This is one of the most pervasive car safety myths out there. And if you believe this myth, you could be setting yourself up for serious injury or death.

Although there are a small handful of cases in which someone has survived a car accident after being thrown from the car, this is a very rare occurrence.  In fact, you actually have a 25 percent greater chance of being killed if thrown from the car.  Just consider the physics of the situation.  The force applied to your body when a collision occurs can be strong enough to propel you 150 feet, which is equivalent to about 15 car lengths.  And you would not just be flying gracefully through the air either.  First, your body may go crashing through the windshield, it may scrape along the rough asphalt for yards, and then you could end up getting crushed by your own car or someone else’s.  This is not to mention the other objects you may be hurled into when flung from the car.  Statistics from a study performed by researchers at James Madison University show that the proper use of a seat belt reduces serious injuries from traffic accidents by 50 percent and fatalities by 60 to 70 percent.  It’s a simple thing that can protect your health and save your life—wear seat belts.

Another common myth is that bracing for impact causes more damage to your body, and that it’s best to remain relaxed.  Of course, actually having the ability to choose one way or another about bracing has a lot to do with how much time you have before impact.   Many accidents occur in the blink of an eye, so suggesting that someone should “stay relaxed” has really limited practical value.  However, the most current science indicates that if you have time, bracing for impact will likely reduce the amount of injury, particularly to tendons and ligaments.

One of the most common types of injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which occurs in about a third of all collisions.  If you see a car approaching in your rear view mirror that you believe is going to collide with yours, the best thing to do is to press your body against the seatback, with your head pressed firmly against the head rest. This way you are less likely to suffer injuries to the ligaments in your neck, as your head will not be slammed back against the head rest, then flung forward.

Auto accidents are never pleasant, but by knowing the facts about auto safety you can help reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury.  If you do end up in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a medical evaluation promptly, even if you think you haven’t suffered any significant injuries.  Many auto injuries take time for their symptoms to become apparent or significant enough for victims to recognize how badly they may have been hurt.  By the time the symptoms are obvious, the victim and his or her doctor may have lost a valuable opportunity to treat the underlying injuries.  Please call or visit the office if you or someone in your family has recently been involved in an auto accident.

Auto Accidents Can Spell Trouble at Any Speed

Auto Accidents Can Spell Trouble at Any Speed

speedometer-200-300When we hear the words “car accident,” many of us probably think about dramatic multi-vehicle, highway-speed collisions that involve lots of victims and first responders—firefighters, police officers, EMTs and perhaps even helicopter pilots.  These are the types of automobile-related accidents that can snarl traffic for miles and make the evening news.  However, these are NOT necessarily the types of accidents that cause the largest numbers of injuries.  To understand these, you’d have to look at the other end of the spectrum—high-frequency, low-intensity accidents.  Here’s what we’re talking about:

Stationary or Parked Car Accidents.  Perhaps the most frequent injury involving automobiles comes from closing the door. Nearly 150,000 times a year, someone is injured in this fashion, and the car isn’t even moving.  This includes doors closing on fingers. Another 10,000 are injured while using a jack and 74,000 are injured by a car or car part falling on them.

Vehicle-on-Pedestrian or Vehicle-on-Bicyclist Accidents.  Roughly one-third of auto-related injuries occur due to an automobile striking someone, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists. The damage can include anything from simple scrapes and bruises to multiple broken bones or internal injuries.

Non-Traffic Crashes and Non-Crash Incidents.  A Forbes magazine article noted that researchers from the US Department of Transportation “estimated an annual total of 1,747 fatalities and 841,000 injuries due to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents.” These included back-overs and single-car collisions that don’t happen on a highway.

Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about auto accidents is that you don’t need to be traveling fast to be hurt.  In fact, even low-speed accidents can cause musculoskeletal injuries.  This is especially true in cases where the vehicle’s body doesn’t flex or crumple to absorb the energy of the impact and that energy is instead transmitted to the occupants inside.  And—while modern safety equipment certainly helps prevent many serious or fatal injuries—minor to moderate injuries are still very, very common.

It’s all about physics.  During a collision, the driver and passengers can be thrown about within the vehicle, potentially causing significant injuries from rapid acceleration and deceleration as well as impacts.  Head, neck and back injuries are among the most common.  However, low-speed accidents can be particularly problematic because victims often don’t immediately recognize that they’ve been hurt.  After these sorts of collisions, many simply walk away from the event without going to a qualified healthcare provider for a prompt medical evaluation.  And since it is very common for symptoms to appear days, weeks or even months afterward, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries can be significantly delayed, potentially complicating—and lengthening—the recovery process.

Have you or someone you care about been involved in an auto accident?  If so, your chiropractic physician is specially trained to recognize the kinds of spinal and soft tissue injuries associated with automobile accidents of all types.  Based on a careful assessment, he or she can design a treatment plan to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible.  As experts in diagnosing and treating injuries that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, chiropractors can offer a broad range of treatment options to relieve pain and restore function.  These include chiropractic manipulation and mobilization, traction, massage, low-level laser and hot and cold pack therapies as well as structured exercise and stretching programs.

Auto accidents can be challenging for victims in many different ways—physically, emotionally and financially.  The goal of our clinic is to accelerate the body’s healing process so that you can return to a productive, active lifestyle.  We’re here to help—call or visit our office to learn more.

A Day in the Life of a Crash Test Dummy

A Day in the Life of a Crash Test Dummy

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dot-crash-test-dummy

Crash test dummies. You probably don’t think about them very much (if at all), but you may owe them much more than you realize when it comes to your health and safety on the nation’s roads. Automobile makers use crash test dummies—that is, inanimate, human-like mannequins—to simulate the type and scale of injury that may occur in an automobile accident. Car and truck manufacturers go to great lengths to design and build safe vehicles, and these “full-scale anthropomorphic test devices” or “ADTs” take a real beating day after day as they provide data regarding velocity of impact, crushing force, bending, folding, or torque of the body, as well as deceleration rates during test collisions.

U.S., car accidents kill more than 30,000 people each year and injure many more. However, manufacturers work continually to make cars safer and accidents more survivable through crash-testing programs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1994 to 2009, the fatality rate decreased from 23 to 16 fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers. Crash test dummies have played an important part in that achievement as a result of their role in car testing and design. They’ve also played an important part in reducing the severity of auto accident injuries.

In order to survive a car accident and walk away with minimal injuries, drivers and passengers must be able to withstand the changes in kinetic energy that occur when bodies in motion suddenly come to a stop or when bodies at rest are suddenly accelerated. A car’s safety features, including seat belts and air bags, are made to help mitigate the damage that these abrupt changes can cause to the human body. Crash test dummies allow safety engineers to identify how the changes in kinetic energy caused by car crashes affect the human body and its musculoskeletal system. Researchers use this data to identify areas where changes could improve a car’s safety rating. Additionally, the data is useful to gauge the effectiveness of these improvements once they have been made.

Anthropomorphic test devices, or ATDs, have become enormously sophisticated since the first crash test dummy was created. Dubbed Sierra Sam, the first ATD was made in 1949 to test how ejection seats in aircraft affected people. Today’s crash test dummies are designed to simulate human anatomy in great detail, and to respond as the human body would respond to the forces and impacts generated by auto accidents. Using a wide variety of advanced materials and sensor technologies, they can tell a researcher what types of injuries would likely have been sustained by vehicle occupants in a crash—anything from surface skin abrasions and contusions to soft tissue damage, broken bones and life-threatening internal injuries.

Combined with sensors in the test car itself and an array of slow-motion video cameras, ATDs have helped designers and engineers understand better than ever before exactly what happens in different kinds of accidents so that they can protect vehicle drivers and passengers. And there’s no doubt they’re very valuable members of the safety team—they can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000!

ATDs are built in a variety of shapes and sizes to mimic human differences. However, they’re also used in ways that allow carefully controlled testing from crash scenario to crash scenario and from vehicle to vehicle. Before each test, engineers paint different parts of the crash test dummy’s body with different colors, allowing them to identify how each part of the body impacts parts of the vehicle’s interior.

Car accidents can be particularly hard on the musculoskeletal system—injuries to the back, neck, and extremities are common. Unfortunately, many of these injuries may go undetected immediately after a collision, when adrenalin is flowing and participants are generally eager to leave the scene and move on with their lives. Symptoms may appear days, weeks or even months afterward. Plus the injuries sustained in a car crash may cause a host of ongoing health complications, such as recurring headaches, neck stiffness, TMJ, dizziness and chronic back pain as well as reduced mobility.

Chiropractic physicians are specially trained to diagnose and treat the types of musculoskeletal injuries that many people suffer as a result of care accidents. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, it’s very important that they receive a prompt medical evaluation from a qualitied healthcare professional—even if they feel fine or are only experiencing minor symptoms. Detecting injuries as soon as possible often allows auto accident victims to recover more quickly and more completely, with less pain and less disability.

Auto Injury Q&A. Answers to Questions Every Accident Victim Should be Asking

Auto Injury Q&A. Answers to Questions Every Accident Victim Should be Asking

?????????????????Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic and potentially life-altering experience. However, dealing with auto accident injuries afterward can often be even more difficult. Many people who have experienced an auto accident have questions about what the future holds. Here are answers to a few commonly-asked auto injury questions.

What Should I do Immediately After a Car Accident?

If you are in an auto accident, your first priority should be to care for your health and for the health and safety of the people around you. Check to see if you or any of your passengers have sustained any injuries that clearly require immediate medical attention. If so, call an ambulance right away. If you are able, move your car to the shoulder of the road so that it does not impede traffic or endanger others. Then, call the police to file an accident report. Right now is not the time to worry about who caused the accident. Instead, focus on getting the help you need and avoiding any further injuries.

What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries?

Injuries from car accidents most commonly stem from rapid acceleration, deceleration and impacts—either from your body slamming into a part of your vehicle or from being hit by an unsecured piece of cargo. If your head is impacted by another object, you could suffer a traumatic brain injury. Facial injuries due to impact with steering wheels, dashboards, and airbags are also common. Finally, the sudden motion caused by a rear impact can cause neck injuries, including the infamous “whiplash.”

Should I See a Doctor Even if I feel Fine?

Yes, absolutely! In many cases, the injuries sustained during a car accident are not immediately apparent. Musculoskeletal injuries to the neck, back, hips and shoulders might not show any symptoms until days, weeks or even months after the initial trauma. Therefore, it is important to seek a medical evaluation immediately after your accident even if you do not feel seriously hurt at that moment.

Who is Responsible for Paying My Medical Bills?

The short answer is “It depends.” In a perfect world, your insurance company would cover your medical bills without any hassle. However, it is very important to understand your policy and to follow the process your company has in place for documenting and submitting claims so that you can receive the proper care and be sure that it will be paid for. In some situations—for instance, when your motor vehicle accident occurs while you’re driving for an employer or when your accident results in legal action—others may ultimately be responsible for paying for your medical care. No matter what the situation is, it’s critical that your healthcare providers know how to work effectively with insurance companies and attorneys to help insulate you from the financial and administrative consequences of auto accidents so that you can focus on your recovery.

What Happens if I Don’t Seek Medical Care?

If you walk away from a car accident and choose not to seek medical care, you are gambling with your health. You might be just fine, but then again you might also suffer from serious, lasting injuries. The simple truth is that your recovery will be faster and more complete if problems are diagnosed and treated early. We know this both from research and from long experience. Your health is too important to leave up to chance, so we’ll say it again: please seek medical attention after an accident, even if you feel you don’t need to.

If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain due to an auto accident (even one that happened some time ago), there are ways to help relieve your symptoms and restore your function. Call or visit our office to learn more. We’re here to help!

The Latest on Motorcycle Safety Gear

The Latest on Motorcycle Safety Gear

motorcycle-safety-gear-200-300There are few more iconic images than that of the motorcyclist. Whether it’s zipping through traffic when cars are at a standstill or exploring long, winding country highways, motorcycling is many people’s idea of bliss. In order to keep enjoying that bliss, however, it’s necessary to add a dash of caution and common sense. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly road accident than those traveling in passenger vehicles. Even the most skilled motorcyclists need motorcycle safety gear to protect themselves against injury.  Remember-more often than not, motorcycle accidents are the fault of people driving other (larger) types of vehicles…

The head, arms and legs are the areas of the body most likely to sustain injury in a motorcycle accident, so protect these first and foremost. The basics of protective clothing include jackets and pants (or a suit), gloves, boots, and of course a helmet. Jackets, pants and gloves can be constructed from leather, nylon or Kevlar. The best quality leather is made from cowhide, as it is the most durable. You can also find pigskin leather that may look nice and be less expensive, but it is far more easily damaged. Be sure the leather is a minimum of one millimeter in thickness for optimal protection. Buffalo hide is another good choice if you can find it.

Many people prefer synthetic materials, due to what some feel is greater comfort and improved weather protection. Whether you choose nylon or Kevlar, test the material to see if it can stretch and breathe. This is important when biking on a hot day. It should also be strong and durable enough to be able to maintain its integrity in the event of an accident.

When choosing a motorcycle jacket, ensure that the stitching at your joints (elbows and shoulders) is strong and preferably reinforced. A well-made jacket will have extra padding in the area of the spine, elbows and shoulders. A jacket of man-made materials should have reflective stripes. Your jacket should fit snugly without being too tight. It should allow for extra layers underneath if you are a cool-weather biker. When trying it on, be sure to also sit in it in riding position to ensure that your back and wrists remain covered while in that position.

Although jeans may be more comfortable, leather pants or chaps are always recommended. In addition to providing greater protection, chaps or insulated pants may be specially coated for water resistance, which is an added bonus in bad weather that jeans just can’t match.

The best gloves (which should be worn at all times, no matter what the weather) will have knuckle protection made from carbon fiber. Cold weather gloves are essentially the same, but with insulation – and often waterproofing – included.
Boots should be at least 6 inches in height to offer ankle protection, and sport a slip-resistant sole. Thicker soles are better at absorbing bike vibrations. Leather boots are always preferable to nylon running shoes, which offer no protection to your feet and ankles in case of an accident.

The use of brightly colored, reflective clothing has been shown to reduce the risk of road accidents by 37%. If your clothing does not have reflectivity built-in, you can add it with the addition of reflective tape kits. Anything that makes you more visible to other drivers can dramatically decrease your risk of an injury.

Although nobody enjoys wearing a motorcycle helmet, it may make the difference between life and death (or between life and living in a vegetative state). A good helmet will have a Department of Transportation (DOT) certification sticker on the back. This ensures that the helmet meets stringent safety requirements. You will get the most protection from a full coverage helmet that covers the entire head and face, with a clear acrylic visor for added protection against insects and various light road debris. Many helmets also feature vents to help keep your head cool.

A well-equipped biker is a happy, healthy one, so buy some quality gear and get out there to enjoy the open road!

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact

???????????????????????????????You have no doubt overheard someone at work or at a party telling his friends that he never wears a seat belt-and that he has some really good reasons.  The story usually goes something like this:  He heard from a buddy he knows that a friend of a friend who was not wearing a seat belt had a bad car accident and walked away from it because he was thrown clear of the car.  This is one of the most pervasive car safety myths out there. And if you believe this myth, you could be setting yourself up for serious injury or death.

Although there are a small handful of cases in which someone has survived a car accident after being thrown from the car, this is a very rare occurrence.  In fact, you actually have a 25 percent greater chance of being killed if thrown from the car.  Just consider the physics of the situation.  The force applied to your body when a collision occurs can be strong enough to propel you 150 feet, which is equivalent to about 15 car lengths.  And you would not just be flying gracefully through the air either.  First, your body may go crashing through the windshield, it may scrape along the rough asphalt for yards, and then you could end up getting crushed by your own car or someone else’s.  This is not to mention the other objects you may be hurled into when flung from the car.  Statistics from a study performed by researchers at James Madison University show that the proper use of a seat belt reduces serious injuries from traffic accidents by 50 percent and fatalities by 60 to 70 percent.  It’s a simple thing that can protect your health and save your life-wear seat belts.

Another common myth is that bracing for impact causes more damage to your body, and that it’s best to remain relaxed.  Of course, actually having the ability to choose one way or another about bracing has a lot to do with how much time you have before impact.   Many accidents occur in the blink of an eye, so suggesting that someone should “stay relaxed” has really limited practical value.  However, the most current science indicates that if you have time, bracing for impact will likely reduce the amount of injury, particularly to tendons and ligaments.
One of the most common types of injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which occurs in about a third of all collisions.  If you see a car approaching in your rear view mirror that you believe is going to collide with yours, the best thing to do is to press your body against the seatback, with your head pressed firmly against the head rest. This way you are less likely to suffer injuries to the ligaments in your neck, as your head will not be slammed back against the head rest, then flung forward.

Auto accidents are never pleasant, but by knowing the facts about auto safety you can help reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury.  If you do end up in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a medical evaluation promptly, even if you think you haven’t suffered any significant injuries.  Many auto injuries take time for their symptoms to become apparent or significant enough for victims to recognize how badly they may have been hurt.  By the time the symptoms are obvious, the victim and his or her doctor may have lost a valuable opportunity to treat the underlying injuries.  Please call or visit the office if you or someone in your family has recently been involved in an auto accident.