It’s amazing to think that tons of metal are hurtling down our cities and streets. The only thing that’s protecting you from the outside world is a sheet of metal. However, cars are now designed to have crumple zones, so even the thin layers of metal isn’t really a protection worth writing home about. The key is, for manufacturers to adapt to our bodies. The mechanisms that keep us safe on impact are the reactionary and sensitive equipment, such as airbags. However, the shock of energy will inevitably, be transferred through the heavy weight of the car, and into our bodies. The car itself must have the proper features, to blunt as much force as possible, to prevent external injuries and keep the limbs safe. The car must also keep you steady and firmly planted in place, so the g-force on impact, doesn’t throw you wildly around the metal structure. It’s poignant then, to have the relevant knowledge of what you should be looking for from your car, to have trust in its safety design.

A strong passenger cell

The passenger cell, often referred to as the cabin, is the structure where the occupants sit. The door frames, roof, underlining and the rigid frontal structure, are all part of the cell. It should keep as much of its shape as possible when experiencing a frontal or rear crash. Where the most injuries occur is when the cell collapses under the astonishing forces of a collision. Your car may have an NCAP safety rating where you can check the performance of the structure on your car. The cell must have good quality steel in the skeletal structure and protected by the rubber sealings from the rain to prevent rust.

Tough seat belts

Modern vehicles use very strong belt reelings that prevent overtravel of the design upon impact. Check if your seat belts have a three-point lap and sash design that offers superior protection. However this design is most commonplace in modern cars, yet it does not always prevent injury. In fact, manufacturers have chosen to properly restrain passengers, so much so, your torso may barely move during a crash. However, this means, your internal organs will smash against your ribs, causing varying degrees of harm. Internal damage takes weeks and weeks to heal and can cost a lot in health bills. You should contact car accident attorneys, who offer support in such cases where you have received physical injury. A case won, can help you claim enough compensation to not be financially hurt due to somebody else’s negligent driving which sometimes, no seat belt design can protect your from.

The overlooked headrest

Headrests are incredibly important because they protect the most vital organ in your body; the brain. Yet, the headrest is overlooked by many drivers, but, you manufacturers know the importance. A modern headrest should have a high cushion, with a sponge padding. There should be no hard objects or even designs in the rest. As your head is flung back during an impact, the occipital resistance node hits the back of the rest. It’s crucial the rest is correctly positioned to get the full benefit of the cushion. To prevent whiplash, a modern design should have a feature to make the rest taller, set at an angle, and be slightly curved to catch the cranium. The head has a high center of gravity, which is eye level or higher for some people, so make sure the rest is the correct height before setting off.

Side airbags

Airbags instantaneous expand upon impact from the rear or the front. However, for extra safety, a car should have side airbags to save your from serious harm during a t-bone collision. The side of the car has the largest surface area which can be impacted. A seat belt won’t help you much from a lateral accident, so the only way to protect your life and limb from a horrible impact is to have airbags that are fitted in the door and the roof just above the driver’s head. Unlike the airbags in the steering wheel, the laterals airbags, protect your arm, shoulder and rib cage from being penetrated through the door and the window by another vehicle.

The best protections inside the car, are the design features which incorporate the study of human biomechanics into their features. Manufacturers who have listened to their customers’ concerns, done many tests with crash dummies and focused on keeping the occupants secure above all else, will give you the best chance of surviving a horrific crash; even if it means using extremely strong components to prevent a fatality.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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