Poor head restraints increase whiplash claims
by Gill Montia
Story link: Poor head restraints increase whiplash claims
AXA believes hundreds of thousands of whiplash claims could be prevented each year with better head restraints and seats in UK cars.
In a study carried out with motor research organisation, Thatcham, the insurer estimates that only 34% of cars on UK roads have head restraints and seats that would be categorised as “good” when it comes to reducing the risk of whiplash injury to the driver.
In addition, motorists and passengers are increasing the risk for themselves as only 39% of those surveyed ever adjusted their head restraint while 26% didn’t even know how to make an adjustment.
In the UK, 1,600 claims for whiplash are made per day, costing the insurance industry £2 billion per year in payouts.
According to AXA, if 65% of these could be avoided through better head restraints and seats, this could mean a reduction of 370,500 claims costing around £1.3 billion.
AXA’s tips on reducing whiplash risk include:
Make sure your head restraint is set at the right height for you; to be effective, a head restraint must be as close to the back of the head as possible (touching is best) and the top of the restraint should be as high as the top of the head.
If you have a very old or “spongy” restraint, look at replacing it or buying an add on pad.
Bring your seat to an upright position that will set the head restraint just behind your head.
Sometimes hats/hair accessories can make a head restraint feel uncomfortable but for safety the headwear should be removed rather than the head restraint pushed back.
If you are thinking of buying a new car, check out the Thatcham rating for the models you are considering.