Crashing is something that everyone (except crash-test dummies) is trying to avoid for obvious reasons- crashes are expensive, people can get hurt, and the potential for long term injury and psychological harm is present especially for major crashes. As with many things, the best way to avoid injury is to try to avoid crashing, and if this is unavoidable, it is always better to wear your seatbelt and make sure the safety features of your vehicle are up to date.
If you can prevent crashes from happening by driving safely and following local traffic rules and defensive driving technique, you will most certainly be safer. However, some crashes are unavoidable, but we can learn a lot from them in terms of the mechanisms of injuries during crashes. Another way of collecting data on crashes is by performing crash tests using the previously mentioned dummies to get a better idea of the specific forces and impacts at play.
What Happens to the Body During a Crash?
There are many videos online of crash tests where dummies are thrown against the dash or steering wheels of cars that have no seatbelts. In addition to these, there have been crash tests for almost every scenario imaginable, and the data collected from these tests is very valuable to designing safety features for vehicles as well as providing care to victims of crashes. There are thousands of different variables at play in determining the severity of injuries obtained by a crash, but most doctors can get a rough estimate of the nature of a crash by comparing them to known data.
What happens to the body during a crash will vary depending on the type of crash it was. Rear-end collisions usually result in the head being thrown forward and backward in a quick motion leading to whiplash. Some crashes result in broken arms or legs as they are raised in defense or pushed in by a frontal collision. Thankfully, many crashes only result in a couple of bruises and scrapes through contact with broken glass or swift impact of the arms and legs with the steering wheel or seats or the torso being bruised by contact with the seatbelt.
What Injuries May Arise?
With the rise in safety features in cars, fatal crashes are prevented more often, and people are less likely to suffer head and lower body injuries except in major crashes. The most common car crash injuries nowadays are upper body and lower back injuries. Back and spine injuries including whiplash are caused by the sudden force and flexion from a crash- the spinal column is not designed to resist large amounts of force, so there is a chance of back strain or whiplash from even low-speed crashes.
Upper body injuries including shoulder injuries are usually caused by someone bracing themselves against the steering wheel or dash and the muscles being sprained or torn from the force of the impact. The potential for this type of injury is rather high. The good news is that many injuries associated with crashes are treatable and most patients can see a full recovery with proper care.
Car crashes can be scary, but if you have been in a crash and are now reading this, it is always good to remember to be thankful that you are alive and able to seek treatment from practitioners of modern medicine which can successfully treat many injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash and are experiencing pain beyond the bruises and scrapes, please contact your physician today to create a plan to put you on the road to recovery. If you need a consultation with a chiropractor, contact North County Pain Relief today, and they will be glad to answer any questions you may have.