A car accident is never going to be a safe event, even if you’re able to walk away with minimal to no injuries. Anything that involves a giant, fast-moving metal box crashing into something else is dangerous. Not only that, but due to the sheer common necessity of vehicle transit, most people can expect to be in at least one car accident at some point in their lives.
This begs the question: if accidents cannot be entirely avoided, and they are always going to be a risk to your health and safety, what can you do to minimize any harm? How can you lessen the risk as much as possible?
What are the biggest threats to drivers and passengers in a crash?
Usually, it is your own vehicle that poses the greatest danger to you in a car accident. Even with high safety standards and intelligent preventative software in the newer cars of today, they may only be able to keep you alive — not uninjured. Sometimes, though, even that is no guarantee. For example, Alabama has the 2nd highest rate of fatal car accidents in the country regardless of all those safety features.
Knowing the threats and how to minimize them can, quite literally, be the difference between life and death. In the case of your own vehicle, here are some of the threats to be aware of:
- Broken glass. It gets everywhere and in everything, leading to some nasty lacerations and risk of infection in the best-case scenarios. Cars have quite a lot of glass, and while a lot of companies use a stronger kind for their windows, it is by no means shatter-proof.
- Car doors. Made of the thinnest metal in the car, even those fitted with side airbags can still be crushed and caved. This could trap you in the vehicle or injure you itself if it is slammed into you from the outside.
- Seatbelts. This may seem counter-intuitive, but seatbelts are engineered to tighten suddenly upon impact. While this is a life-saving measure, it can also be a painful one. Especially in the back seats of cars, these belts can tighten and stay that way, and with so little give, this can actually cause severe chest, spinal, or abdominal injuries.
- Airbags. Another example of a measure designed to save your life, but not necessarily to avoid injury. Airbags deploy with an incredible amount of speed and strength. If you are not sitting properly or are, say, a bit shorter than the airbag was designed for, you could find yourself hit hard without any external help. A number of airbags have been recalled over the years because of defect, too, which pose additional risks even in low-speed collisions.
Does the seat you choose affect your chances of survival in a car crash?
Despite the possible injuries, it is still incredibly important to keep your airbags on and your seatbelt buckled, and most people are well-versed in these habits. But what else can you do to help protect yourself during a car accident?
Choosing the right seat is the first step, as long as you’re the passenger. This will all depend on your unique circumstances. It is commonly accepted that the back middle seat is the safest spot in the car. Since it’s the center of the vehicle, there is the most space between you and the sides, meaning more area for the collision to be absorbed before it reaches you. However, this seat is only the safest if you are wearing your seatbelt — otherwise you are actually three times as likely to get killed in an accident, as the momentum would probably eject you through the windshield.
If you have weak bones or breathing issues, you may want to avoid the backseat entirely. As previously stated, the seatbelts are usually designed not to have any give after tensing for impact, but the front seatbelts are. This would make the front safer for you or any elderly passengers, though even despite this, children are still safest in the back.
Can posture affect the risk of injury in a car accident?
Your posture also plays an important role. Car companies design their safety features with test-dummies, remember, and so sitting like one is the safest bet. That means sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor and your head back. This ensures the airbags are able to protect you properly by deploying in the proper position. Adjust any headrest to support your neck properly; this is a great way to minimize any whiplash from either the colliding vehicle or the airbags alone. Hunching over to brace for impact is only a good idea on a plane — it should never be done in a car.
Sometimes, though, you can do absolutely everything right and still be injured in a car accident. If that happens, there are still steps to take to protect yourself, your rights, and your finances. The very first step should be finding a qualified Alabama car accident attorney to fight on your behalf. Proper representation can ensure you’re compensated for your injuries and able to focus on recovering, while also making sure you do not suffer more than you need to for another party’s negligence.
Mezrano Law Firm has experienced, compassionate, and hard-working Alabama car accident attorneys who are always here be that representation for you. We proudly represent clients in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Gadsden, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa for your convenience. For more information on what we can do for you, call us today at 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form. No one expects you to go through this hardship alone, and you shouldn’t have to try.