Motor Vehicle Accidents: How Your Height May Determine Your Injury

Most people don’t give their height a second thought when sitting behind the wheel or climbing into a passenger seat. However, your height may determine the types of injuries you sustain in a collision and its severity.

What’s more, it can determine the level of protection you might receive from airbags and seatbelts. Keep reading to learn how your height may determine your injury during a motor vehicle accident.

Your Level of Airbag Protection

Airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers during a collision with another vehicle or obstacle. However, they are often designed with average height people in mind. For this reason, people who are taller or smaller than average will have an increased risk of experiencing a physical injury or fatality during a motor vehicle accident.

According to an analysis of 65,000 people involved in a car accident, 5% of people seriously injured were either shorter than 4 foot 11 or taller than 6 foot 3 and sustained worse injuries than those between 5 foot 3 to 5 foot 11.

Your Injury Type and Risk Level

Taller people aren’t only more likely to experience a serious injury during a car accident, but their height may determine the type of injury they sustain. As taller than average people will have less protection from an airbag during a motor vehicle collision, they are more likely to experience a head injury.

A study found that medium stature drivers will have a lower-than-average probability of sustaining a serious head injury, and drivers more than 185cm in height will have an above-average probability.

However, smaller drivers have a higher probability of developing either a pelvis or lower extremity injury. As many females are naturally shorter than males, more women are more likely to sustain this type of injury during a collision.

Common motor vehicle injuries may include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Bruising

Alongside height, a driver or passenger’s existing health can also determine the type of injury or pain they experience after a vehicle accident. For example, if a person has degenerative disc disease, a car accident can cause additional spinal cord trauma and exacerbate symptoms. Fortunately, a minimally-invasive stem cells spinal cord injury method can minimize pain and discomfort, provide fewer risks than alternative treatments, and improve a person’s quality of life.

Leave Some Room in the Driver’s Seat

Tall drivers are more likely to adjust their seats to accommodate their large size, while smaller drivers may move closer to the steering wheel due to shorter arm and leg length. Whatever your height, The National Highway Transport Safety Administration recommends drivers keep a minimum 10-inch distance between their breastbone and the airbag. Sitting 10 inches away and buckling a seatbelt will decrease their risk of an airbag injury. The distance will provide time between braking and an airbag inflating, which will prevent a driver from moving forward before the airbag is nearly or fully inflated.

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