Whiplash – How to avoid it.
Whiplash injuries are generally not life-threatening. Unfortunately, they run up hefty medical bills and have long-term consequences.
They occur in seven out of 10 accidents that result in personal injury and make up 50% of traffic-related injury costs.
Motorists involved in rear-end collisions at low speeds – beware city traffic! – face the greatest risk of such injury.
When a car is hit from behind by another, the violent motion of the upper body puts an enormous strain on the relatively weak neck (cervical spine).
This can result in whiplash-associated disorders (eg, severe neck pain and head ache). These are often difficult to detect and determine, so victims end up suffering physically, and mentally, often for years.
Women are more vulnerable to whiplash because their necks are generally more slender, and their bodies lighter.
Listed below are some ways to avoid whiplash.
- Keep a good distance in front of you so that you can slow down gently when you need to.
- Except in an emergency, always look in the mirror before braking. Knowing what the car behind is doing is the best way to avoid getting hit from behind.
- Make sure you have a properly adjusted head restraint. The top of the head restraint should be level with the top of your head for maximum safety.
- Anticipate the traffic ahead and drive to avoid stopping as often – slowing down earlier gives the driver behind more time to react.
- Try and signal early for junctions to give time for the traffic behind you to react.
- Keep your foot lightly on the foot brake as traffic approaches from behind to show brake lights as a warning, until you are sure it is stopping.The Star