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In Every Vehicle Crash There Are Actually Three Collisions

Updated on April 20, 2011

In every vehicle crash, there are actually three collisions:

  1. The vehicle's collision
  2. The human collision
  3. The human body’s collision

The Vehicle's Collision

When a vehicle crashes into another vehicle or a solid, immovable object, it crushes, absorbing some of the force of the collision.

Learn how to prevent serious injuries from a crash

The Human Collision

The second collision is the human collision. At the moment of impact, the driver and passengers in the vehicle are still traveling at the vehicle’s original speed. When the vehicle comes to a complete stop, the occupants continue to be hurled forward until they come in contact with some part of the vehicle, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, front window, or back of the front seat. Occupants in a crash can also cause serious injuries to other occupants when they collide with each other. Rear-seat passengers often hit people in the front seat of the vehicle as they fly forward. For this reason, you should insist that all passengers in your vehicle wear their safety belts.

The Human Body's Collision

In a crash, the internal organs are still moving even after a human body comes to a complete stop. The internal organs can slam into other organs of the skeletal system. This internal collision is often the cause of serious injury or death. For example, a person’s head might collide with the windshield of the car during the second collision. The still-moving brain then collides with the inside of the skull, causing swelling and/or bleeding. This is the third collision. As total mass and speed of the vehicle(s) involved in a motor vehicle crash increase, there is a proportionate increase in the opportunity for injury to the human body, both externally and internally.

How to Prevent Serious Injuries in a Crash

Wear your safety belt, including the shoulder harness properly. In a crash, you are far more likely to be killed if you are not wearing a safety belt. Wearing shoulder belts and lap belts make your chances of living through a crash twice as good. If you are involved in a crash, your seat belt will keep you from being thrown from your vehicle. If you are thrown from your vehicle in the crash, your risk of death is five times greater.

Seat belts keep you from being thrown against others in the vehicle. Seat belts also keep you from being thrown against parts of your vehicle, such as the steering wheel or windshield. They keep the driver behind the wheel, where he or she can control the vehicle.

Wear a shoulder belt only with a lap belt. Wear your safety belt every time you get in your vehicle, not just for long trips or on high-speed highways. More than half of the crashes that cause injury or death happen at speeds less than 40 mph and within 25 miles of home.

Wear your Seat Belt Include the Shoulder Harness Correctly
Wear your Seat Belt Include the Shoulder Harness Correctly


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    • Rachaelle Lynn profile image

      Rachaelle Lynn 8 years ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Great information - thanks!