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Is it better to brace for a vehicle collision?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

It depends.

If you lean forward and brace your hands against the dashboard, you will likely cause more impact damage than you would have suffered in the first place. If you lean back in your chair in the correct seated position and tense your muscles, you have a better chance of protecting yourself against numerous types of soft tissue injuries in a motor vehicle collision.

While engineers have designed numerous elements in a vehicle’s seats to keep occupants safe, when facing the prospect of a collision many people put themselves in harm’s way. Instinctively twisting away from the impact, reaching out with the hands or feet to the dashboard, or bracing against the door if the impact is coming toward the driver’s side can all lead to devastating injuries of increasing severity.

What actions are better than others?

In the correct seated position, which includes the feet on the floor and the back of the head against the rest at the top of the chair, vehicle occupants can reduce or prevent a certain amount of injuries in a collision. When “bracing for impact” means tensing the muscles medical experts agree with the advice.

Specifically, if a vehicle occupant is aware of an impending collision, chiropractors suggest tensing the muscles of the neck to protect the ligaments, discus and nerves of the cervical spine. The force of a vehicle collision can cause the head to snap back and forth. When these muscles are loose, this action is violent leading to whiplash, ligament damage and spinal cord trauma. Tensed muscles can reduce this movement and, thus, reduce the potential for severe injuries.

While the muscles themselves could suffer tears and sprains, muscle groups tend to be better vascularized than tendons, ligaments and nerves. This means that a greater degree of blood flow can reduce the damage and improve healing rates.

It can be difficult to prepare for a collision that will happen in a fraction of a second. By remaining seated in the appropriate position, vehicle occupants stand a greater chance of protecting themselves. Do not brace for impact by reaching for the dashboard. Instead, press your skull against the headrest and tense the muscles of your neck and upper back. After a vehicle collision, however, it is wise to fully research your rights to monetary recovery.