You see that you’re going to be involved in a car accident. It’s unavoidable. Perhaps you’re sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic. There’s nothing you can do and you only have a split second.
You may have heard people say that it’s actually bad to brace for impact. They generally will mention something about how drunk drivers tend to have less severe injuries because they’re intoxicated and so they don’t try to protect themselves. Being limp and not tensing up is said to help them.
But is this actually true? Or should you brace for impact? There’s usually no way to think all of this through right before an accident, so it’s wise to consider it in advance.
Bracing for impact does help
To put this succinctly, medical experts claim you should always brace for impact. They point to the fact that your muscles themselves can help to protect the rest of your body. They can keep you from injuring your spine, for instance, or tearing tendons and ligaments.
Others also point out that bracing for impact can reduce catastrophic injuries, even if it causes minor injuries. For instance, reaching out with one arm to put it against the dashboard can lead to a broken arm. This is sometimes why people say that you shouldn’t tense up. If you hadn’t tried to brace against the dashboard, you wouldn’t have broken your arm.
And that may be true, but bracing yourself with your arm could save you from an impact to your chest, your neck or your head. It is clearly far better to have a broken arm than to have a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury that could lead to lifelong paralysis.
So it’s important to remember that bracing for impact may not completely eliminate the injuries that you face in a crash. A violent collision just has so much energy that there may be little you can do. But you can reduce the odds of a catastrophic injury if you know how to react in that moment.
What if you were seriously injured?
Car accidents happen quickly, and you may have no time to take action, or you may still suffer catastrophic injuries even though you tried a brace for impact. Make sure you know how to seek financial compensation from the driver who was responsible.