Cervical acceleration / deceleration, or more commonly, whiplash, is an unfortunate side effect for many auto accidents. Whiplash can go unnoticed initially, but if left alone then it can cause dizziness, disorientation, headaches, and severe neck pain. Ironically enough, the safety features in many cars, like seat belts and airbags, can actually increase your likelihood of getting whiplash, but obviously if you were to choose between a fatal accident and whiplash, you would want the latter. However, there are ways to still use the life-saving features in your car and reduce whiplash with just a few simple tweaks to your driving position.
Many people drive with their seat in a relaxed position, and there before have the seat leaned back because it may be more comfortable. Yet, if your seat is leaned backwards too far, then if you are thrown forward in an accident, your neck is going to have a farther distance to travel before it meets the seat. This means that the snapping motion that causes whiplash is going to be intensified, and your symptoms and injury will be worse. So the headrest should be fairly close to your head. Similarly, your headrest needs to be up as high as it can go so that your head will be as covered as possible if it were to hit the headrest in an accident. This position might seem a bit awkward or too upright at first, but it is worth the adjustment if you want to help prevent injury in an accident.
Furthermore, if you are in the market for a car and want even more protection, then certain models have installed features that will help prevent whiplash even more. For instance, some models have angled brackets within the seats, so that if a person is to hit the seat at a certain velocity, or in other words a speed that is intense enough that it could be associated with an accident, then the seat actually angles forward so that your headrest will meet your head soon, and your risk of whiplash is reduced. Now, if you are not interested in buying a car soon, then you can still make the adjustments discussed earlier-headrest above or level to the top of our head and close to touching the back of your head-and have better protection, but just remember the next time you are looking for a car that whiplash protection is always something to consider.
Hopefully these tips will be moot for you because your driving record will remain clean and accident-free, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. So protect yourself, adjust your seat and headrest to meet these tips, and drive knowing that you are going to be much better off if something were to happen. Happy Driving!