The Melbourne Australia Transport Accident Commission recently conducted a study of what happens to the human body in a car crash, and what the human body would have to evolve into in order to survive a serious crash. We humans are actually really bad at driving safely. People text, drive drunk, speed, and don’t wear seat belts. Compared to other similar, high income countries, the U.S. has the most deadly car crashes each year, with 40,000 fatal accidents just in 2017. When your vehicle is slammed into something else, whether it’s another car a tree, or a barrier, a lot of things can happen to your body. Thankfully, cars are built to absorb a good amount of the force from the collision in areas called crumple zones, but they’re clearly not perfect.
The energy of an accident still shakes the people inside, often severely injuring the occupants. Where the car comes in contact with another object dictates where the brunt of the force will be delivered and how the occupants of the car will be thrown about. So, when a car crashes into something head first, people often slam into the steering wheel or front panel and experience chest and lower limb injuries like broken ribs or crushed legs. Whereas, getting hit from the side will launch you away from the impact and common injuries include head, chest and lower extremity problems. Rear-end crashes jolt you forward and are notorious for neck and back injuries like whiplash. And finally, roll over accidents result in people being jostled about like they’re being shaken in a snow globe. These crashes are typically accompanied with head and chest injuries. Obviously, things like where you’re sitting, how fast the car was moving, and if you were wearing a seat-belt all play a big part in whether you survive or not.
And the severity of these injuries is heavily dependent on seat-belt use. When I get into a car, one of the first things I do is buckle my seat belt, just like 90% of Americans. But for those 10% that think they’re too cool for seat belts, they’re twice as likely to die in a car crash. And wearing your seat-belt incorrectly can also cause huge problems. If it is too high and rests around your stomach, the belt could rip apart your inner organs in an accident! Its also known that, during a traumatic event like a car crash, your brain can go into fight or flight mode and focus on how to survive, versus storing memories. This leads to people not remembering horrific car accidents and what happened after. People can also suffer from PTSD and flashbacks of a crash for years after it occurred. But the good news is that you can very easily reduce your likelihood of being in an accident and your chance of sustaining serious injuries.
Wear your seat belt. Follow the speed limit. And for Pete’s sake, keep your eyes on the road. If you end up finding yourself or a loved one in a car crash that results in injuries, contact our law firm as soon as possible. The things you do and don’t do during the early stages after an accident can make a big difference on whether you receive the settlement you deserve.