Whiplash is the general name for injuries to the neck and shoulders, and it is most often associated with car crashes. Damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in these parts of the body are common when a vehicle comes to a sudden stop or crashes into something, and some people suffer for months afterwards with aches and pains. It can be a very debilitating condition and may prevent sufferers from working and getting on with their lives.
There is a lot of great support and treatment available for those who have suffered whiplash, but there are also things that all motorists can do to help minimise the risk of getting whiplash in the event of a car accident.
The first thing to do is to check that the head rest in your vehicle is positioned correctly. Most drivers probably do not think twice about whether this bit of furniture is in the right position, but it can make a massive difference in a collision and reduce neck injuries.
In a normal sitting position, it should not be more than an inch behind your head – too far away and it will not prevent your head from behind bounced around.
Your seat belt will also help to prevent you from being thrown around in an accident. Always wear it whenever you are in the car and check that passengers have their seatbelts on as well. If they are children, it is your responsibility to keep them safe and secure in your vehicle. Animals and luggage should also be properly secured so they do not get thrown around if you have a crash.
Use the handbrake
If you expect to be stationary for more than a few seconds, then get into the habit of applying the handbrake. If a vehicle slams into you, this will stop your car from lurching forward.
Foot on the brake
As well as applying the handbrake, you should keep your foot on the brake so that your brake lights are on. This will show vehicles approaching from behind that you have stopped so that they can slow down and stop accordingly.
Use hazard lights
Hazard lights can be used to warn other motorists of an unexpected obstruction or queue. If you are approaching a jam on the motorway, or are among the first to the scene of an accident, put your hazard lights on so that other drivers behind are aware that there is a problem.
If you are victimised and suffer from a whiplash injury then call Accident Advice Helpline free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.
Date Published: September 23, 2013
Author: David Brown