Fort Collins Auto Repair

Adjust Your Headrest to Prevent Whiplash

Once inside their vehicle, most people don’t give their headrest a second thought before starting their drive. Despite the headrest being standard in most cars, they are a forgotten gem for most drivers. The headrest isn’t just a comfortable place to lay your head; they are a safety feature that protects your head and neck during an accident. New vehicle models have evolved with more comfortable seats that are ergonomically shaped to fit your body; however, the headrest has always stayed awkward and primitive to protect your spin. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), whiplash and neck injuries are among the most frequently reported injuries in automotive insurance claims. Most often, cases of whiplash occur during rear-end vehicle collisions. When a car is hit from the rear, the driver’s torso moves forward so quickly that their head lags behind. The headrest helps prevent whiplash by preventing your head from yanking back and pushing it forward towards your spin. The headrest helps prevent whiplash and spinal cord injury by controlling the movement of your head. When the headrest is adjusted correctly, there’s an increase in safety for you and your passengers. Below are a few tips to properly set and adjust the headrest of your vehicle: 

  • The bottom of the headrest should be level to the base of your head, where the head and upper neck connect - it should be even with the top of your head.  
  • In the case of an accident, the headrest should contact your head, not your back or neck. 
  • The headrest should be 2-3 inches behind your head. If this needs to be fixed, adjusting the seats recline angle should help. 

Proper headrest positioning is critical. Accidents happen, and no matter what vehicle you drive, it’s crucial always to adjust the headrest. The headrest can be adjusted down, up, and tilted forward. When properly adjusted, the headrest will offer maximum protection against whiplash and severe injury. Most drivers forget about their headrest, rendering them ineffective. Headrests are just as important as your seat belt when protecting you against collisions. It only takes a few seconds to make an adjustment towards a safer drive.

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