NEW YORK – We’ve all heard the phrase before: “Brace for impact.” Whether you’re in a vehicle crash or you slip and fall, your body can reflexively react. Some researchers have dedicated their careers to finding the safest way to train your body to brace for impact – but does it really work?
For years, the Federal Aviation Administration has been testing brace positions on crash dummies. Try tucking your in between your legs or curling into a ball. Yeah, have you seen the amount of leg room on planes and cars today? It’s not easy to get into some of the ‘old’ recommendations for brace positions.
New research suggests your brain’s natural reaction may be the best choice after all.
In car crashes, researchers have determined that most drivers reflexively lock their arms against the steering wheel or dashboard and press their heads back against their seats. This could result in a broken arm but researchers determined it protects the head and other vital organs from severe injuries.
A Manhattan car crash lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said head injuries are usually present in some of the most severe crashes.
“Protecting your head, neck and chest can sometimes save you from the most serious injuries,” Manhattan car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many accidents have something called a ‘secondary impact,’ in which your head or neck can suffer whiplash or slam into something like a window or the dashboard – that’s why airbags have become a vital safety feature in vehicles.”
Pressing your head back against the seat can help minimize the risk of a secondary impact but these tests were conducted on head-on crashes. Using computer simulations, analysts found this bracing technique doesn’t consistently work well for angle crashes and rear-end collisions.
Studies show those who pushed away from the crash direction had a better chance of surviving without serious head or torso injuries.
Of course, if you knew a where a crash was going to happen and had enough time to react properly it might just be easier to avoid the crash in the first place.
That’s why Manhattan car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say there’s no substitute for safe, defensive driving.