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Whiplash 3: Speed

Over the next several weeks, we will post a total of 10 short articles about whiplash injuries from auto collisions, a poorly understood but all too common injury. Our firm handles many such cases and is committed to informing you so you can protect yourself and your family.

3.) Speed

We have all seen pictures of crumpled automobiles that are barely recognizable as such after high speed collisions. Usually these collisions involve head on impact or collisions with a fixed object like a tree or light pole. These and other frontal impacts (like those sustained by the "at fault" car in a rear end collision) are usually anticipated by the occupants (however briefly). Motion of the head relative to the body is mitigated by, anticipation, air bags or other vehicle components. Indeed statistics show that occupants of the "at fault" vehicle in a rear end collision are far less likely to suffer whiplash injuries than those in the vehicle they hit.

Speed is therefore not as significant an injury producing factor in whiplash as in other auto injuries. Accidents at less than 10 miles per hour seem to enhance whiplash injuries due to the dynamics of energy transfer. Approximately 75% of all rear end collisions occur at less than 10 miles per hour. You may think such an impact would produce a harmless "bump", but the force of the instantaneous acceleration on the victim's neck is multiplied by a factor of 2.5 times. This force plus the leverage of the body vs. the head generates injury at least 50% of the time.

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