Understanding What Happens In A Car Crash

Updated October, 2020
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Car crashes showcase Isaac Newton's first law of motion. An object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. A car, whether moving or stationary, exerts pressure on the other vehicle involved in the accident—causing the damage you typically find after a collision.

What forces are involved in a car crash?

Two cars colliding with one another is a perfect example of Newton's first law of motion. An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. The same can be said of an object in motion.

In a car crash, there's a transfer of energy from the vehicle responsible for the collision and whatever it hit. It's this transfer of energy that results in cars crumpling and humans suffering from injuries.

This is due to the fact that the object that was struck, absorbs any energy thrust upon it. It also transfers that energy back to the responsible vehicle.

For example, say car A runs into the rear bumper of car B, which is at a halt at a red light. Although car A was in motion, car B ceases its momentum, causing it to come to a halt.

Conversely, car B moves a little bit due to car A. It absorbed the motion. The people inside these vehicles become victims to the forces of physics.

What happens to your body during a car accident?

A similar effect takes place within the bodies of those involved in the car accident. Your body was either at rest or in motion. As a result, your body abruptly enters a different state, resulting in significant injuries.

Several factors influence the severity of your injuries. The main one involves the speed at which the cars traveled. A car traveling 5 miles per hour hitting a car at rest doesn't result in a ton of damage. The same can't be said for two cars colliding, each traveling at 50 miles per hour.

Another factor involves where the collision took place. A fender bender may be far away enough from the parties to not result in extreme injuries. However, a head-on collision is a different story.

Most common types of accident-related injuries

There are many injuries you can get in an accident. It may even take a day or two for you to notice the symptoms. That's why you want to be aware of the most common injuries that usually transpire after a collision.

  1. Back and neck injuries - The human spine isn't designed to handle the force of impact from another car. Herniated discs, sprains, and even paralysis may develop.
  1. Head and brain injuries - Concussions can make a person forget what happened leading up to the incident. Chronic headaches and fatigue following a car crash may indicate cognitive issues.
  1. Soft tissue injuries - Car accidents can stretch or tear the body's soft tissues. Muscle weakness, pain, and a limited range of motion should be noted.

5 steps to take after getting in a car accident

Car accidents are scary. Your mind may race as you're figuring out what to do. The best advice at this moment is to take a deep breath and follow these five steps.

  1. Check for any injuries - Make sure you and everyone else in your car is all right. Call an ambulance if someone is clearly injured.
  1. Notify the police - Have the police come out to the scene. Answer any questions they have.
  1. Exchange information - Get the other driver's insurance information. It's also a good idea to get his or her phone number just in case you need to talk later.
  1. Take photos - Use your smartphone to document any damage to the vehicles involved.
  1. Contact your insurance provider - Within 24 hours of the crash, call your auto insurance company to let them know you've been in an accident.

Tips for safe driving

  • Obey all speed limits
  • Never look at your phone while driving
  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Never get behind the wheel while intoxicated
  • Be vigilant of other drivers

And all safe drivers need to have a comprehensive insurance policy to cover you in the event of an accident. Some insurers offer discounts and perks for safe drivers. You can be covered while saving a ton of money!

Is my insurance good enough to protect me in an accident?

If you're not sure, consider comparing different insurance providers to your own to find out who's able to provide you with the level of protection you need. Don't get caught on unprepared in the life-altering car accident.

Try our easy insurance comparing tool and receive quotes, instantly!

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