Motor Vehicle Crash Myths
“I can’t be injured because there isn’t that much damage to my vehicle.”
This is a myth. It is usually misunderstood that a lack of property damage to vehicle equates to little or no bodily injury. It is not the speed of the oncoming vehicle that determines the amount of injury that occurs, but the change of speed that occurs in a person’s head, neck and body. This can be affected by numerous factors such as the seat back, head restraints, bumper and vehicle size. Scientific research performed on live human test subjects by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego have shown that low speed rear impact collisions can cause whiplash injury even without any visible property damage. This has been documented with compelling video footage. Many rear bumpers have been designed to withstand an impact of 5 to 10 mph without showing any cosmetic damage.
“I’m safe because I drive a big SUV.”
There is some bit of truth to this statement, but it is still a myth. Yes, a larger vehicle is safer because there is more room to crush and crumple than in a smaller vehicle. Therefore an occupant will absorb less energy from the collision than if they were in a small vehicle. The aspect of larger SUV type vehicles that is less safe is their reduced maneuverability and braking ability. Because of their larger size and weight, it is more difficult to evade a dangerous situation and avoid a crash. There is also the increased risk of rollovers with SUVs and larger vehicles because of their higher profile and stance off the ground.
“I don’t need to wear a seat belt, because my airbags will protect me.”
This is definitely a myth. Many fatal crashes occur at lower speeds and airbags usually deploy at higher speeds. Therefore, if you’re not wearing a seat belt, you’re leaving yourself unprotected. Airbags alone are only 12% effective. Seat belts alone are 42% effective and airbags with seat belts are 47% effective. You can see that much of the safety lies with the use of the seat belt. The safest place to be during a crash is sitting securely in your seat.