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NEVER BEEN IN AN CAR ACCIDENT:  What Should I expect? 

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We write most of our blogs assuming the reader has had an accident, is now injured and answer questions about why you need a Utah Car Accident Attorney.  But what if you have never had a serious car accident. The thought may occur—what would it be like? Would the airbag help or hurt me? Would I be injured? It may have not been a deciding factor in your choice of car, but your car is designed to protect the passengers first even if it means the vehicle sustains more damage.

So, the day has come!  You have a serious car accident and the airbags inflated. It’s important to leave room for the airbag to inflate. Adjust your seat and steering wheel until you find a position where you are comfortable, and there is room to put your hands at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions on the wheel. Ideally, you could fit a large pillow between your body and the wheel. Avoid aiming the airbag at your face, or where it could hit you on the chin and snap your head back.

Be prepared for the smoke. Airbags inflate using a combination of compressed gas and an explosive charge. The result is a cloud of smoke, smelling much like the smoke from a gunshot. For some time after the accident, it vents out of the airbags, the steering wheel and the dashboard. Bystanders may think your car is on fire if they’ve never seen the aftermath of an airbag deployment before.  The airbag may be quite hot soon after it inflates. Newer model airbags use special gasses to remain cool, but airbags in older cars may be hot enough to cause mild burns just after they go off.

Take it sitting down.  The first thing to remember is—generally, it’s not the sudden deceleration of the car that hurts you. It’s when you decelerate at a different speed from the car that you get hurt. Slamming into the steering wheel or sliding away from the seat will be what injures you in most accidents. Therefore, your first goal is to stay stuck to your car. It goes without saying that everyone should wear seat belts any time the car is in motion. Children should be restrained in the back seat in a properly tested child safety seat that is appropriate for your car. Passengers should never ride in the cargo area. Adult passengers need seat belts too, even in the back seat.

Just as importantly, wear the seatbelt properly. The seatbelt should lay flat anyplace that it touches your body. If it’s twisted or rolled, it will be weaker and put more force on your body. That increases the chances of bruising or belt failure. Don’t forget the seat belt is your primary line of defense in an accident. If it is soiled or damaged in any way, replace it immediately. Chemical and physical damage could cause it to fail just when you need it most. Consider it part of your life insurance.

The seat is just as important. Never use protectants or waxes on leather or vinyl seats. They make the seat slippery. There are special detergents for seats that won’t endanger you.  Seat covers can be dangerous, because they can break loose and make you slide, causing an accident or making one worse. If your car has side airbags, they may deploy from the seams of the seat–turning the seat cover (especially one made of wood beads) into a projectile in a side-impact accident.  Take care when adjusting your seat. A common cause of injury is “submarining:” sliding off the seat and under the dash in an accident. If you normally tilt the front of the seat downward, you’re at greater risk. Keep the seat back as close to straight up as is comfortable. A straight seat back can take more crash force, and the seatbelt and headrests will work better.

These are just a few of the things you can expect if you are in a car accident and a few things you should be aware of to keep from sustaining major injuries in the event of a crash.  William Rawlings and Associates is here to help you through that process.  Being in a car accident is scary and can turn your whole life upside down.  We have helped thousands of victims and their families over the years get their lives back on track and get the compensation you deserve.


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