Save Your Neck with Your Headrest!

Neck sprains and strains, commonly known as whiplash, are the most frequently reported injuries in U.S. insurance claims. In 2007, the cost of claims in which neck pain was the most serious injury was about $8.8 billion, or 25 percent of the total payout for crash injuries.

Head restraints help prevent whiplash. When a vehicle is struck from the rear, the seat back pushes against an occupant’s torso and propels it forward. If the head is unsupported, it lags behind the torso until the neck reaches its limit, and the head suddenly whips forward. A good head restraint prevents this by moving an occupant’s head forward with the body during a rear-end crash.

Head restraints should be properly adjusted. The top of the head restraint should be even with the top of the head or, if it won’t reach, as high as it will go. The distance from the back of the head to the restraint should be as small as possible.

 The rate of neck injury complaints is 15 percent lower in cars and SUVs with seat/head restraint combinations rated good compared with poor. The results for serious injuries are more dramatic. Thirty-five percent fewer insurance claims for neck injuries lasting 3 months or more are filed for cars and SUVs with good seat/head restraints than for ones rated poor.

These are the main findings of a new Institute study of thousands of insurance claims filed for damage to vehicles, all 2005-06 models, that were struck in front-into-rear impacts. Conducted in cooperation with State Farm and Nationwide, the study is the first time seat/head restraint ratings based on dynamic tests conducted by the Institute have been compared with real-world neck injury results.

“In stop-and-go traffic, you’re more likely to get in a rear-end collision than any other kind of crash, so you’re more likely to need your seat and head restraint than any other safety system in your vehicle,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s senior vice president for vehicle research. “This is why it’s so important to fit vehicles with seats and head restraints that earn good ratings for saving your neck.”

The Institute has been measuring and rating head restraint geometry since 1995. The higher and closer a restraint is, the more likely it will be to prevent neck injury in a rear collision.

Comments from Dr. Kyle:  I love this quick article because it is a simple and effective way to help keep you safe while driving.  Simply adjust your headrest and enjoy the added benefits of protecting yourself in case of an accident.

Kyle Meers D.C | Cedar park Spine & Injury

 

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