Being involved in a car crash is no fun. Even a minor accident can cause lifelong injuries. The issue at hand is the fragile nature of the human body. As tough as it is in some circumstances, it is no match for cars weighing thousands of pounds crashing into each other.
If you’ve ever wondered what the most common car accident injuries are, you’re in luck. This post discusses them in detail, including why they occur. Maybe reading it will encourage you to be a bit more cautious behind the wheel.
Whiplash is arguably the most common injury sustained in car accidents. It is a neck injury resulting from trauma to the vertebrae, muscles, and tendons. It occurs when the head is forced forward and back in rapid succession. It is so named because the physics behind whiplash are very similar to cracking a whip.
This injury occurs in car crashes due to the principle of momentum. As you’re moving forward, momentum is carrying your body forward as well. Impact with another car causes your car to instantly stop. Meanwhile, your body wants to keep moving forward. It does for a brief moment, before snapping back.
Though this definition may be a bit simplistic, concussion is essentially a brain bruise. Most concussions are minor and can be recovered from in a matter of weeks. More severe concussions can take months to recover from. The most severe can result in traumatic brain injury and death.
Concussions occur when the brain makes violent contact with the inside of the skull. The injury is possible because there is space between the brain and the skull. This space allows for enough movement to prevent impact under normal conditions. In a car crash though, the brain doesn’t have enough free space to overcome the force of impact.
Fractures, or broken bones if you will, are fairly common in car crashes. Fractures are classified as hairline, complete, or compound. With a hairline fracture, the bone doesn’t break all the way through. Complete fractures involve full separation, while a compound fracture is actually multiple complete fractures in the same bone.
Fractures are caused by impact energy. Energy is transferred from some object, say the dashboard for example, into the victim’s leg. Because the leg bone is unable to absorb that much energy, it fractures instead. The fracture is essentially a release of the excess energy.
The next common car crash injury is actually a group of injuries classified as disc injuries. Discs are soft, gelatinous tissues found between the individual bones of the vertebrae. They give the vertebrae flexibility and cushion the bones at the same time.
A herniated disc is one that partially protrudes from the two bones on either side of it. This is one of the most common disc injuries observed after car accidents. It’s caused by an over-flexing of the back. The affected joint flexes a bit too far, resulting in part of the disc protruding. When the joint returns to normal position, the protruding part of the disc is stuck.
The underlying cause of nearly all car crash injuries is impact energy. The energy has to go somewhere. If you happen to be in a car when it crashes, some of that energy is forced on your body. It can cause a whole host of injuries, some of which are serious.
Now that you know, perhaps more caution behind the wheel is warranted. The last thing you want is an accident that results in you suffering from a lifelong injury.