Car accidents have always been the #1 cause of death for people under the age of 40. While this rate has improved with modern safety measures in our vehicles, it's still something to take note of. It also puts us at risk for conditions such as neck pain, back pain, and whiplash which might have you end up in our chiropractic office here in Boynton Beach. Unfortunately we can't always avoid being in an auto accident... BUT there are certain steps we can take to lower the risk of us being injured in the event of an accident. Here they are:
1. Put the Phone Down
The Department of Transportation reports traffic related deaths increased by 7.7% in 2015. A personal injury attorney colleague of mine recently told me about the explosive growth of his practice in the past 5 years and upon asking him why, he simply replied, "Smart Phones." EVERYONE is looking at their cell phones while driving, at traffic lights, in parking lots, etc. We all know about this one but it's really a big deal and it makes driving much less safe for yourself and those around you.
2. Clean Up Your Car
Items in your car become dangerous projectiles during an auto accident. I myself need to be reminded about this one. I always have workout sneakers, gym bag, briefcase, sporting goods, etc in my vehicle and that's a recipe for disaster, so clean up that car, and it goes without saying that making sure everyone in the car is buckled in with their seat belts is a must.
3. Adjust Your Seat
There are two important factors to keep in mind when you're adjusting your car seat: You want your entire spine to be supported while you're driving. Similar to an ergonomic chair in the work place, you'll want to press your buttock all the way back so there is no space between you and the seat. Your headrest is there to make sure you don't extend your head backwards in an accident. Make sure it is adjusted directly behind your head, at the height of your head. THIS IS A BIGGIE. People tend to really screw this one up and it's the best way to make sure that you limit whiplash when you're in an accident.
4. Don't Be A Female
As crazy as that sounds, females are three times as likely to get injured in an automobile accident as opposed to their male counterparts. Why is that? Women are more likely than men to sit forward in their seat, with space in between their spine and the stabilizing, comforting seat. A lot of times this is due to clips/hair styles that prevent proper head positioning, but this is also just due to a more forward head posture, so try to take out your pony tail and make sure you're leaning back against your seat and your spine is supported.
Neck Exercises To Decrease Whiplash Symptoms
For some exercises that can help you decrease your neck or whiplash pain, click out my article 'The Exercise Fix: Neck Dysfunction.'
Florida is a "No-Fault" Auto Collision state. This means that whether you causes the accident, or someone else did, you are still entitled to $10,000 worth of medical (chiropractic) treatment to be paid by your Auto Insurance -Florida State Government, assuming you're not seriously injured and an ambulance takes you to the emergency room, but you seem to be in pain and you think it's a result of the accident, the first move people seem to make due to the barrage of advertising (especially here in Boynton Beach) is to call a personal injury attorney rather than a medical provider. That's not necessary. I'd recommend calling your trusted medical provider first, then discuss with them options on legal representation. So, I'm going to suggest a different path:
In the first 14 days (in Florida), you'll want to present for medical care somewhere... anywhere will work, but you won't get approved for Auto Insurance to pay for your treatment unless you do so in the first two weeks.
Go to a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist - these professionals will handle your case in a manner that is less likely to have you go down the following path: Going to a surgeon, getting prescribed pain medication, becoming dependent on pain medication, no longer use that pain medication, but start using something else (other drugs, alcohol, food, etc), and chronic pain and/or drugs dependency.
Now, I'm not saying to avoid medical doctors. In fact, a good Chiropractor/Physical Therapist or other conservative practitioner will most likely involve a trusted medical doctor in a responsible manner for your well-being and the management of your auto accident case.
The practitioner can also refer you to a trusted personal injury attorney that will help manage your case against the offending driver.