Not only do whiplash associated disorders affect an individual’s health and wellbeing but they can also impact their family and society overall. With that in mind, let’s discuss strategies to reduce the prevalence of automobile collisions and the severity of injury when a car crash does occur.
On a community and government level, ways to reduce the risk for automobile collisions include: good road design that is large enough to handle rush-hour traffic with well-marked exits and entrances; increased access and use of mass transit options; the development and deployment of smart vehicles (self-drive technologies, adaptive speed cruise control, lane control); strategies to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road; strict management of driver hours for commercial and public transport; and cameras at traffic lights.
There are also several ways an individual can lower their risk for a car accident. These include not speeding and only driving as fast as conditions allow when the weather is poor; allowing for extra space for the vehicle ahead of you; slowing for road work; not driving while tired or otherwise impaired; not being distracted while driving, such as texting or manipulating the radio; proper use of the turn signal; scanning for hazards in the road; not making rash decisions if you miss a turn or exit; and asking for a ride from friends or family members if you no longer feel safe behind the wheel due to illness, injury, or age.
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk for injury in the event of a collision: wear your seatbelt and don’t start the car until all passengers are buckled up; make sure children are secured in age- and size-appropriate restraints; ensure the vehicle has working airbags; don’t ignore vehicle recall notices; keep your car well-maintained, including the tires and brakes; keep the seat near upright and the head restraint at an appropriate height.
Additionally, lifestyle strategies like maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and getting regular exercise may also reduce the risk for more severe whiplash injury. If present musculoskeletal aches and pain interfere with your ability to stay active and healthy, please contact your doctor of chiropractic and schedule an appointment.