The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently looked at 6 different minivans and found that those in the Ford 2006 Nissan Quest, the 2005-2006 Toyota Siena and the 2004-2006 Mazda MPV among others failed to give efficient head support in the event of a whip lash injury.
The test measured the effects of rear end collisions at relatively low speeds and found that the necks of the test dummies were put at risk. Because of anatomy, the neck is the most at risk to be hurt in a standard rear end car accident. Proper design of the head restraint on the seat in a vehicle is important in preventing some of these common injuries. What you want to achieve is to have the head restraint be high enough toward the top of your head and close enough to the back of the head to provide support in the forward and back motion in these car wrecks. Changing these seat back designs is not that difficult for the manufacturers. Hopefully, the auto makers will do what is necessary to perform better on these tests in the future.
You can help yourself by making sure that your head rest in the best position possible for you. This generally means to move it forward and have it in a place where it is not to many inches from the back of your head. Ideally, it should come up to within an inch of the top of your head as well. You can improve the chances of not being hurt in a car crash by making this simple adjustment in your own car.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Automobile and Motorcycle Accidents.