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Whiplash: How to Avoid a Whiplash Injury

03rd September 2009
By Jessica Parker in No Win No Fee
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Over 80% of no win no fee claims arising from car accidents are for whiplash injuries, according to the insurance industry. This equates to 250,000 whiplash injury claims per year.

A whiplash injury can seriously affect your quality of life. Whiplash arises so frequently following car accidents, it is highly advisable to take simple safety measures to prevent it.

Here are some factors which could be putting you at risk of sustaining a whiplash injury, followed by simple measures you can take to guard against whiplash.

Factors which could be putting you in danger of sustaining a whiplash injury include:

Not adjusting the head restraint - if more than one person uses a car, the head restraint should be adjusted for each driver, every time it is used

Not having a locking head restraint - if the head restraint cannot be locked into position then it may move during an accident, allowing the head to move, too, and increasing the risk of a whiplash injury

Being the driver - sitting in the driver's seat entails twice the risk of a whiplash injury as sitting in the passenger seat.

Being female - research shows women drivers are three times more likely to suffer a whiplash injury if their car is hit from behind. This is because women tend to sit higher up, closer to the steering wheel and with a more upright seat back.

Women are far more likely to suffer from whiplash than men if they are involved in a car accident, so should take extra care to ensure the head restraint is in the correct position to prevent an injury. However, any driver or passenger should follow these rules to adjust their head restraint:

• Adjust the head restraint so that it is as high as the top of your head

• Move the head restraint as close as possible to the back of your head

The reasons for doing this, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) are:

1) It will reduce the risk of whiplash by lowering the distance between the back of the head and head restraint, which will stop the neck from bending backwards.

2) It will reduce the length of time it takes for your head to contact the head restraint, and increase the amount of time your head is supported during the accident

Another way to reduce your risk of sustaining a whiplash injury is to make sure you purchase a vehicle which allows the head restraint to be adjusted, and which allows the head restraint to be locked securely into place. This is particularly true if you are buying a second-hand car.

Buying a car which safeguards against whiplash

Before you buy a car, sit inside it and make sure you can adjust the head restraint to the ideal level. The best position is when the top of the head restraint is level with the top of the head, and there is either very little or no space between the head restraint and the back of the head. These two factors will restrict movement of the head in a crash and this will help to prevent whiplash injuries.
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