You wake up, and it’s just another day.
You get in your car and drive off to work. You merge into traffic and hit the gas. You’re on your way, right?
But what if that journey turned out to be so much more than a typical morning? What if you got into an accident that put you in the ER? What if you didn’t know what was going on? Would you know how to protect yourself from further injury or get help for someone else? Would you know to call an auto injury doctor? If so, which one?
Car accidents are more common than you might think. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in America—and they can be really scary when they happen. But what happens to your body in a rear-end collision? What happens when it happens? And how can we make sure we don’t find ourselves in this situation again?
Luckily for you (and everyone else who might be reading this), we’ve done some research into all of these questions! So read on for some helpful tips on what happens when someone runs into the back of your car…
So What Happens to Your Body in a Rear-End Collision?
A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of car accidents. It occurs when a vehicle strikes another from behind. A rear-end collision can be particularly dangerous because it often results in high-speed impacts.
When you’re involved in a rear-end collision, your body experiences a large amount of force and pressure. The impact may cause you to slam into your seatbelt, steering wheel, or dashboard. This type of impact can cause neck and back pain, as well as headaches and dizziness.
The first thing that happens is your head snaps forward as the seatbelt pulls you back into your seat. This creates a sudden change in velocity, which causes an increase in force on your spinal column.
As you try to regain control of your car, you may hit the brakes or turn sharply to avoid another vehicle. This movement increases pressure on your body as it fights against the seatbelt, which can cause more damage than simply being rear-ended alone.
In extreme cases, internal organs like your liver and kidneys may shift due to the pressure exerted on them during a rear-end collision.
What Happens During a Rear-End Collision?
The seatbelt is your best protection during a crash. It keeps you from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard if you’re not wearing it or from bouncing around inside the car if you do wear it. Seat belts also limit how far your body moves forward in a collision, which reduces injury risk. Most people involved in rear-end collisions will be wearing their seatbelts at the time of impact.
During a rear-end collision, your body moves forward because of inertia — the tendency for moving objects to continue moving at the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an outside force. When the vehicle behind you stops suddenly, its momentum continues forward into your car and pushes it backward. The more quickly your vehicle is traveling at the time of impact, the more quickly your body will move forward into its seatbelt restraint system.
This creates a significant impact force on your head and neck, which can result in whiplash injuries if there’s no other protection for these areas (such as head restraints).
In the most difficult situations, it creates a crushing force that can injure internal organs such as the spleen or liver and cause muscle tears throughout the body, as well as spinal cord compression and nerve damage resulting in paralysis or numbness of the limbs.
The 2 Most Common Injuries of a Rear-End Collision:
Whiplash occurs after a sudden stop or impact. It is also known as cervicalgia or musculoskeletal dysfunction and can be extremely painful. The neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons are affected and can cause symptoms like headaches, neck stiffness, and pain in the shoulders, chest, or arms.
When you get hit from behind by another vehicle, your head may hit the back of your seat or windshield, causing trauma to your brain and spinal cord. This type of injury can cause bleeding around the brain, which is called a subdural hematoma, swelling of the brain tissue called cerebral edema, bruising around the brain (diffuse axonal injury), tearing of blood vessels in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage), and damage to nerve cells (neurons) within the brain itself.
Related content: How long after an accident should you claim an injury?