Who’s most likely to get whiplash?
Studies show that young women who are not very muscular are more prone to whiplash.
Can I reduce my chance of getting whiplash from a car accident?
Yes. The proper use of well-engineered head restraints dramatically reduces serious neck injuries from automobile accidents. Studies show that vehicles with well designed head restraints can reduce injuries in rear-impact crashes by 24% to 44%. Drivers can protect themselves from whiplash by buying safer vehicles. However, having a car with well-engineered head restraints isn’t enough.To reduce your chance of whiplash, those restraints have to be positioned correctly.
How do I know if my head restraint is positioned correctly?
Ask yourself the following two questions:
Is it high enough? The top of the restraint should be even with the top of your head or at least to the top of your ears.
Many motorists refer to a head restraint as a headrest. But head restraints are not comfort features. They are essential safety features like lap/shoulder belts. In a rear-end crash, effective, well-designed head restraints help move your head forward along with your body, thereby decreasing your chances of getting a whiplash injury.
- Is it close enough? The restraint should be around 5 cm (2 inches) from the back of your head. Closer head restraints are twice as good at preventing injuries as those set too far back.
- What is the difference between headrests and head restraint devices?
What happens if the vehicle I’m driving is hit from the rear?
At impact, the vehicle moves forward causing the seat to push against your back (1). Your body is cushioned by the seat while your head and neck continue to move back (2). If your head is unsupported due to an improperly positioned head restraint (top sequence), it continues to move backwards over the head restraint (3). Properly adjusted head restraints (bottom sequence) keep your head and body positioned in line with each other throughout the collision, thereby protecting your neck (4).
What types of head restraints are available?
- Reactive Head Restraint: A head restraint that automatically moves up and forward during the crash, activated by the weight of the person in the seat.
- Pro-Active Head Restraint: A head restraint that automatically moves up and forward at the start of the crash, activated by crash sensors on the bumper or within the car.
- Reactive Seat: An entire seat and head restraint that absorbs the energy of a rear end crash.
- Passive Seat: A seat that uses passive foam technology to absorb the energy of the crash and allows the person to use the head restraint without the neck changing position.
- Traditional Seat: A traditional fixed or adjustable head restraint that has no specific anti-whiplash technology.
Do newer vehicles have better head restraints than older ones?
Yes. Head restraints have improved so that a newer vehicles are likely to have better head restraints than older ones. In 1995 only 3% of measured head restraints received good geometric ratings from the Institute, compared with 51% in 2005. The number of poor restraints decreased from 82% in 1995 to only 6% in 2005.