Attention Drivers: Protect Yourself from Whiplash – 15 Million at Risk Due to Poor Seating Positions
Discover an eye-opening survey that concerns all drivers, regardless of their distance traveled:

The British Osteopathic Association (BOA) warns that improper seatbelt usage puts drivers at risk of injury. While most people acknowledge the life-saving benefits of wearing seatbelts, they remain unaware of the crucial role their seating position plays in personal safety.

According to a BOA survey, a startling 13% of drivers position themselves too far back, rendering their seatbelts ineffective in frontal crashes. To ensure proper protection, the belt should lie over the pelvic bones rather than the stomach, preventing internal injuries, while also making contact with the shoulder to prevent severe neck injuries. Sitting too far from the belt increases the risk of submarining, a dangerous scenario where the occupant slips beneath the belt, leading to catastrophic harm.

Shockingly, a staggering 15 million drivers, representing 45% of all UK drivers, either position their heads too far from the head restraint or fail to align their seatbelts correctly. As a result, these individuals are highly susceptible to sustaining serious whiplash injuries in the event of an accident. Astonishingly, only 6% of people regularly adjust their head restraints, despite frequently traveling in various vehicles as drivers, passengers, or even in taxis. Additionally, half of the surveyed drivers (51%) admitted to never adjusting their head restraints at all.

Head restraints play a vital role in reducing the risk of permanent soft tissue damage by supporting and capturing the head in the event of a rear-end collision. For maximum effectiveness, the head restraint should be positioned as close to the back of the head as possible, reaching the top of the occupant’s head. This positioning minimises head movement in relation to the body as the car and seat are propelled forward upon impact from behind. Moreover, the driver’s seat should be adjusted to ensure a properly positioned seatbelt, which should sit low across the hips and pelvis, while the shoulder belt remains securely fastened across the chest and collarbone.

Unfortunately, sitting too close to the steering wheel puts one in seven drivers (14%) at risk of sustaining a serious chest injury from an airbag deployment during an accident. Drivers who maintain a distance of less than 12 inches between themselves and the steering wheel bear the full force of the rapidly inflating airbag in a front-end collision. Airbags must inflate swiftly, often exceeding speeds of 200 mph, to safeguard drivers and passengers. Consequently, adequate space in front of the steering wheel is necessary for proper airbag deployment. Individuals shorter than approximately 5′ 2″ (1.57m) often sit too close to the steering wheel and may suffer injuries from the inflating airbag. The recommended safe distance is roughly 12 inches, equivalent to the length of an A4 paper placed horizontally.

It’s intriguing to note that our seating position in the car significantly impacts our safety and well-being. The position of the head restraint, proximity to the steering wheel, and extended periods of uninterrupted driving can all contribute to long-lasting neck and back injuries.

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