Back in the bad old days before seat belts and air bags, the answer to this question was pretty simple, particularly in high speed crashes. The driver is impaled on the steering wheel and the passenger was ejected from the car by being thrown through the windshield. These are two gory examples of Newton’s law that an object in motion will remain in motion until a sufficient equal force causes it to stop. Another law of physics that applies to the body in a car accident is that energy, or momentum, can be transferred from one object to another.
The Power Of Physics On The Anatomy
The two laws of physics cited above have much to do with the effect on the body as a result of a crash. High speed crashes are obvious to us and we are amazed when people escape apparently unscathed. But even low speed, 5 to 10 mph crashes can have serious effects on the body. Think of it this way. Your body is riding inside the car and your organs are riding inside your body.
At 10 mph your body will continue to go forward at that speed until another force (seat belt) stops you. Inside your body, your organs will continue to go forward until another force (skeletal structure) stops them. The brain in particular can suffer damage when it is stopped by hitting the skull. Even though the event only takes a tenth of a second, the impact can cause bruising and swelling which can lead to serious, even fatal results. Often times this damage will not be immediately evident but will manifest itself over a period of time.
What Causes Whiplash
The truth is nobody knows specifically what causes this condition. In a crash the chest rises a bit squeezing the neck and spine against the head. Which particular action causes the strain remains unproven. What is known however, is that whiplash can occur in even a very slow speed car accident
This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not offered as a medical or legal reference.