If someone asked you the best way to stay safe in a car accident, what would you respond? If you said “wear a seatbelt!” you are not wrong. Statistically, it has been proven that wearing a seat belt while traveling in a car,truck, SUV, van, or any kind of motor vehicle saves lives. Of course, wearing a seatbelt is the best way to keep you from flying out of the vehicle or into the windshield. At rare times, the seat belt itself may actually cause the injury. While the majority of seat belt injuries are minor and still a better alternative than the injury that would have resulted from not wearing one, some car accident injuries caused by seat belts can be serious. How do seat belt injuries occur, how they can be prevented, and how can a person heal who has such an injury?
How do these injuries occur?
In many traffic accidents, your automobile comes to a sudden stop, requiring your seat belt to immediately restrain a still-moving driver and passengers. This is the seat belt’s job, but it isn’t without risk. While a seat belt will prevent severe injury in this instance, it is entirely possible that the seat belt can cause a minor or moderate injury to a driver or passenger. This is due to a variety of factors, including:
#1 The severity of the accident and impact
#2 A seat belt malfunction
#3 Exceptionally tight restraints
#4 The seat belt being improperly placed across your body
Types of seat belt injuries
In the vast majority of cases involving seat bealt injuries, the injuries are minor and involve bruising and scrapes from the restraints. The severity typically corresponds to the severity of the collision; a minor accident causes minor bruises and a major crash causes more severe bruising. Lap belts are usually responsible for internal injuries to the abdomen and spinal cord, while shoulder belts more often cause injuries to the person’s shoulder, neck, and chest. The most severe injuries that can be caused by seat belts include fractures, dislocations, internal organ damage, and internal bleeding.
Preventing these injuries
Proper placement of a seat belt on a vehicle occupant is the biggest factor in the prevention of this type of injuries. The shoulder belt should be placed across the middle of your sternum and away from your neck. The lap belt should sit across your hips and below your stomach. The seat belt should not be too tight or too loose. It shouldn’t be uncomfortable or lose enough to move around in it.
Physical Therapy after an Auto Accident
When a car crash occurs, injuries like a dislocated shoulder or broken arm are quite common. The good news is that physical therapy can help! A Columbia, MD physical therapist can help you after an auto accident, even if your injury is the result of the seatbelt. BEAT Physical Therapy is here to help! Book an appointment with our movement specialist and you’ll be on the road to recovery. Don’t let an auto accident and an injury from the seat belt take away your enjoyment in life. Physical therapy is the next course of action.