Whiplash injuries are all too common after an auto accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), neck strains and sprains are the most common injuries reported each year. Even seemingly minor collisions can take a serious toll on your neck – whiplash can occur at speeds as low as five mph.
But while you may not be able to prevent getting into a car accident, it is possible to minimize your risk of sustaining whiplash injuries. Here are a few simple and proven solutions to save your neck before your next accident:
Adjust your headrests properly
It may surprise you to learn that headrests are technically known as “head-restraints,” and they are more for your safety than your comfort. Most people don’t have their head-restraints properly adjusted, increasing their risk of neck injuries.
To get the maximum protection from your head-restraints, the top of the restraint should reach at least as high as the top of your ears, preferably the top of your head. They also shouldn’t more than four inches away from the back of your head.
Sit upright while driving
Head-restraints can’t do much for your neck if you are slouching or leaning over to one side. Make sure that your seat is in the upright position, you are a comfortable distance from the wheel, and you are seated facing directly forward.
Always wear your seatbelt
It should go without saying, but wearing your seatbelt is essential every time you drive. A seatbelt will ensure that you stay in your position during a crash and help prevent devastating injuries – including whiplash.
Don’t tailgate on the road
You should always allow a safe driving distance between yourself and cars in front of you. Should a vehicle need to stop suddenly, you won’t have enough time to react and hit the brakes, which may surprise the car behind you.
Prepare for a crash
If you can anticipate an impending crash – like if you hear the squeal of someone slamming on their brakes behind you – lean back so that your head is touching the head restraint and face straight ahead if you have time. This will help reduce the whiplash effects of a collision.
Accidents aren’t always avoidable, but there are ways to prevent whiplash. By following these tips, you can lessen your risk of neck injuries every time you drive.