The human body is designed to afford as much protection as possible to the vulnerable brain. But unfortunately, the body wasn’t designed with high speed car collisions in mind. The skull is a great safety feature, but it can’t provide complete protection even at 25 miles per hour, let alone highway speeds. As a result, head injuries incurred in car accidents are extremely serious.
Most well-designed cars have several safety features designed to protect the head and brain. The first and most important is the seat belt, which prevents occupants from crashing headfirst into the windshield. Crumple zones and airbags also help to prevent the head from slamming into hard surfaces besides the relatively cushioned headrest.
But unfortunately, these safety features are far from perfect. Concussions, the most common type of head injury in car accidents, can occur in almost any type of accident. Even at low speeds, a collision can cause heads to slam into headrests hard enough to bruise the brain. At higher speeds, airbags themselves can cause concussions. In order to protect drivers and passengers from more serious injuries, airbags have explode out of the dash at lightening speeds that can damage the brain and face. Serious head injuries are also likely in any accident involving a rollover. Convertibles are particularly dangerous in that respect.
One of the challenges for doctors and accident victims dealing with head injuries is assessing the severity of the problem. Brain injuries aren’t always immediately evident, but symptoms can last for months once the do emerge. Mild, isolated concussions aren’t usually a major health risk, but they can lead to “post-concussion syndrome,” according to the Mayo Clinic. This syndrome can keep victims from working due to severe headaches and dizziness for months. Moreover, doctors have few options to help head injury victims short of surgery. Most sufferers of traumatic brain injuries like concussion must simply rest and wait for their bodies to heal.