Are Drivers of Small Cars Really at Greater Risk in Auto Accidents?

auto accident chiropractorThere’s a lot to consider when picking out a new car, but fuel efficiency and safety are two of the most commonly considered factors. Small cars are usually much more fuel efficient, but recent scrutiny suggests that they might not be as safe as larger vehicles. Read on to get the facts behind small vehicle safety.

Are Smaller Cars Less Safe Than Larger Cars?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a car’s size and weight both impact its safety during a crash. Bigger, heavier cars tend to offer more protection to their occupants. Large cars tend to have a longer distance between the front of the vehicle and the driver’s seat. This distance gives the car a bigger “crush zone,” which lowers the amount of force transmitted to the driver and passengers in a front-end crash. Heavier cars also tend to push lighter vehicles backwards, further reducing the amount of force.

When tested, small cars tend to receive good safety ratings against other small cars, but tend to test poorly against midsize or large cars. SUVs and pickup trucks are particularly dangerous as small cars run the risk of under-riding them. Conversely, drivers or larger, heavier vehicles are less likely to experience deadly injury than drivers of small cars.

IIHS data also suggests that drivers of small cars tend to suffer from more serious injuries than drivers of large cars. While more stringent safety standards have dramatically reduced the number of injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents over the past few decades, the simple fact is that small car drivers are more likely to suffer from concussions, whiplash, back and neck injuries, and fractures.

Recovering From a Car Accident

If you are thinking of purchasing a new car, this information might be enough to sway your decision. However, cars of all sizes can and do become involved in accidents that cause serious injuries. If you’re in a car accident, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately. Some injuries are not immediately apparent, making a medical professional’s guidance particularly important.

The sudden, jarring movements that result from a car collision can lead to lingering pain and disability. Working with a chiropractor promptly after an accident can help to ensure that these impacts are short-lived. Your chiropractor will work to identify any stretched ligaments or tears as well as ensure that your spine is in correct alignment. This is particularly important in the case of whiplash, which can cause severe pain as well as blurred vision, dizziness, neck stiffness, headaches, low back pain, and a reduced range of motion in the neck.

Remember—drivers of smaller cars are at a greater risk of injury in an auto accident than drivers of bigger cars. However, there are several smart things you can do to reduce your overall risk no matter what kind of car you happen to drive. Develop strong defensive driving habits, make good use of all your vehicle’s safety features and be sure to visit your chiropractor promptly if you are involved in a collision. Chiropractic physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, including those related to auto accidents. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible!

Knee Care 101

By some measures, your knees are your body’s largest joints, but they are also the ones most likely to be injured. More than 11 million men and women over the age of forty visit doctors every year due to knee pain. Taking care of your knees helps to make sure these vital joints continue to work smoothly and comfortably so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle.

5 Steps to Healthier Knees

Step 1: Stay Active, but Don’t Overdo It. If you don’t put in the time and effort it takes to keep your knees moving, they can start to stiffen, leading to discomfort and increasing your risk of injury. At the same time, dramatically increasing your levels of activity (particularly if you haven’t been physically active for a while) can cause injuries from repetitive strain. If you have never followed an exercise routine, ease into this type of activity slowly. If you work out hard on a regular basis, make sure to include rest days to give your knees a break.

Step 2: Manage Your Weight. Every extra pound you carry puts additional pressure on your knees. A study conducted by Stephen P. Messier of Wake Forest University found that losing even a small amount of weight can significantly decrease your risk of arthritis in the knees. If knee pain makes it difficult for you to lose weight through exercise, try using a stationary bike or elliptical machine to reduce the impact on your joints.

Step 3: Build Muscle Around Your Knees. The muscles that surround and support your knees also help to absorb shock. Strengthening your hamstrings and your quadriceps will help give your knees the backup they need. Talk to your chiropractor or a personal trainer for ideas on the best ways to strengthen these muscles.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Stretch. While the muscles around the knees do need to be strong, they also need to be flexible. Regular stretching helps to keep these muscles from pulling the knee out of alignment.

Step 5: Don’t Ignore Pain. If your knee is painful, swollen, or making unusual noises, check in with a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms can be a sign of damaged cartilage, an issue that can be corrected with early intervention. Trying to “push through” pain without knowing what is causing it puts you at risk of additional injury, so never hesitate to consult with a professional if you think there might be a problem.

Chiropractic Care and Your Knees

Chiropractic care is a vital resource when it comes to keeping your knees healthy. Your chiropractor will take the time to examine and evaluate your joints, muscles, posture and biomechanics to determine the root cause of any discomfort. He or she will then recommend and perform manual techniques that will help to bring your body back into alignment. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your lifestyle and receive recommendations on changes that you can make to continue to improve your knees’ health.

Taking good care of your knees takes commitment, but the rewards are well worth it over the long haul. Talk to your chiropractor today to learn more!