While buckling seatbelts is second nature when getting into a car-how many of us think to adjust the headrest? Reports show that headrests are one of the most overlooked safety features in motor vehicles today and many don't realize the important role they play in preventing neck, brain and spinal cord related injuries.
"Headrests are designed to work alongside the seatbelt so that when an accident occurs it prevents the head from twisting backwards, which subsequently results in whiplash," explains Mauro Convertini, an insurance and claims expert at Aviva Canada.
"Drivers can sustain an injury from an incorrectly adjusted headrest even at speeds as low as 15 kilometres per hour- the same speed as the average bicycle."
According to an Insurance Bureau of Canada study, only 14 per cent of drivers on the road have their headrest in the proper position. And whiplash being the most common soft tissue injury incurred during auto collisions underlines the importance for all passengers to ensure their headrest is adjusted properly.
Aviva's Convertini recommends that Canadian drivers follow three simple steps in order to prevent injuries associated with improper headrest position:
- The top of the headrest should be in a straight line with the top of your head.
- Position the centre of your headrest so that it is slightly above the top of the ear.
- Ensure that the distance between the headrest and the back of the head is between five and ten centimetres.
An important message for local families with multiple drivers is that the next time you get in your vehicle remember to use your brain and adjust your headrest.
More information is available from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada. com.