Statistically, you will be in a car accident every ten years. With any luck they will be minor fender benders that do not result in injuries. When most people imagine a fender bender, they probably picture bumping into another vehicle in a parking lot or other low speed area. Remember that low speed does not mean less danger.
Despite what conventional logic may tell you, even a very low speed car collision can result in major injuries. Even when traveling just a few miles per hour an accident can cause soft tissue damage, whiplash, nerve damage and worse.
The facts on low speed collisions
A study documented in The US National Library of Medicine reviewed the resulting injuries from rear-end collisions in which drivers were going slow enough to not even cause damage to the vehicles. After pouring over data gathered from human testing, lab tests on cadavers, auto engineering articles and peer-reviewed journals, they came to some surprising findings.
Crash tests showed that when cars were traveling as slow as 2.5 miles per hour – a speed slower than an adult’s average walking speed according to The British Heart Foundation – a vehicle occupant can suffer soft tissue and joint injuries. A second study showed that whiplash can easily occur at ten miles per hour, 5 miles per hour slower than the default speed limit in parking lots.
Low speed does not mean low impact
Never take injuries sustained from low speed collisions lightly. Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries can last for weeks and are often very painful. Joint injuries can make daily life much more difficult, and whiplash can lead to nerve damage, loss of motion of your neck and even sight problems.
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident is not only one of the best things you can do for your health, it will also be a major help should you need to bring the accident up to your insurance or into the court room. Having a medical record on the books will go a long way when making your case.
After seeing the doctor, consider also speaking to a personal injury attorney – they will do everything in their power to secure you the resources you will need to recover.
Just because an accident happens at a low speed does not mean you should try to talk it off. Even if there is no damage to the vehicle, that does not mean damage has not been done to your body. Advocate for yourself by speaking to a doctor and seeking legal counsel if necessary.