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January 5, 2014


I have some wonderful suggestions on how you and your family can reduce injury if, God forbid, you are involved in a car crash.  These suggestions come from Dr. Lawrence Nordhoff, Jr., an accident reconstruction expert and the author of various books on vehicle collisions.


  1. Tighten up and brace yourself-contracted muscles protect bones, ligaments                        and nerves.


  1. Face forward with your back and head against the seat and headrest.  Hold                         the steering wheel at the 10-2 o’clock position and do not bend your wrist.


  1. Keep an eye on the other person-you have a better chance of not being                               injured if you are aware of the oncoming collision.


  1. Consider buying a heavy car.


  1. Sit at least six inches from the steering wheel.


  1. Set the headrest and seat back so that the back of your head is no more                               than an inch or two from the middle of the headrest. Then raise the                                             headrest two more inches.


  1. Never put the shoulder harness behind your back.


  1. Don’t pump anti-lock brakes just hold them down.  They may feel “jerky”                         but this is natural.


  1. Use only a new child’s safety seat for your children and install it in the                               middle of the back seat.  If Installation is tricky, perhaps someone from                              the local hospital can assist you.


  1. If it all possible avoid collisions with oncoming vehicle or fixed objects.


As you will note from his suggestions, many of Dr. Nordhoff’s suggestions deal with how to prevent whiplash or “flexion-extension injures” to the neck.  Even a modest impact can cause your body (and head) to be thrown forward.  Your body is jerked to a stop by the seat belt and shoulder harness, but your head keeps rotating forward and down until your chin hits your chest.  It then flies backwards until stopped by the headrest.


Riding “gangsta” with your seat back, reclined at an extreme angle is dangerous.  It places your head so far from the headrest as you bend your neck forward to see out the windshield, that if you are rear-ended, your head has a long way to fly (and pick up speed) before it slams into the headrest.  Dr. Nordhoff says the average person will be an accident every ten years.  As you get older and have more accidents, it is even more important to do what we can to minimize the possibility of permanent injury.


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