Did you know that you can experience whiplash or whiplash associated disorders at speeds slower than 8 mph and that it can take up to 2 weeks for full onset of symptoms? If you did then you are one of the lucky ones. Oftentimes innocent victims are taken advantage of by insurance companies or even the driver of the car by being convinced that they are okay or to not even file a claim simply because it was a low speed crash or that no damage occurred to the vehicle.
Well, I am here to help set some of the record straight. Multiple scientific studies involving live subjects, crash test dummies, and sophisticated cameras and diagnostic equipment have shown that significant damage can occur at speeds slower than 8 mph and even down to 5mph.
This may be hard to believe, but let me explain the science. One of the simple laws of physics is that “objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest”. Applied to a car accident we can say that it takes energy to move a stopped car and it also takes energy to stop a moving car. We can also say that it takes energy to speed up a slower moving car and to slow down a faster moving car. Each of these helps explain the direct connection between rear-end collisions and whiplash injuries.
Now, I could get into some really fancy equations and use terms like kinetic energy, momentum, elasticity and plasticity but I will keep it simple. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to stop a car, the larger the car, the more energy it takes. When a car is rear-ended one vehicle rapidly slows down while the other rapidly speeds up. All of this takes energy and that energy must be transferred.
Car manufacturers must walk a fine line between safety and durability. They can make cars that absorb the damage by crumpling, thus making them less durable and more costly to repair, or they can make ridged cars that resist damage but transfer that energy to the occupant. Either way the energy from the impact must go somewhere, and, sad to say that is most often you, if you have been rear-ended.
On top of this, and as stated earlier, it can take up to 2 weeks for whiplash symptoms to appear. Insurance companies often use this as plausible deniability, rejecting legitimate claims due to lack of evidence. If this has happened to you, have no fear the science is behind you.
In out next post we will go into more detail about the physical signs and symptoms of whiplash, but for now if you, or someone you know has been in a rear-end collision and may be suffering from whiplash please go here for some free resources or call us at (509) 413-2527 for a free, no obligation evaluation.