Ever wondered what could happen to your body in a car accident? It’s not pretty – but being informed is critical.
This post was published on 16 Aug, 2018

Every year, over a million people die in car accidents worldwide. Even those who survive, might do so with serious injuries. 

But what exactly happens to your body during an accident? Damage can occur to muscles, bones, joints, organs and the brain – all in a split second. Once you understand just how vulnerable your body is to injury – especially in high-speed collisions – sensible drivers will do all they can to drive safely, because it’s not for the squeamish.  

Possible sources of damage

Glass, metal and concrete may all hurt victims of traffic accidents. Cars crashing into each other, or into barriers or wall, will necessarily involve objects that are hard or sharp. These are all potential dangers. However, even the kinetic energy can cause damage. 

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When your vehicle collides with an object – it suddenly stops. Your body, however, may not stop right away. Instead, it continues to move forward at the same speed you were travelling before – until it is stopped. Hopefully by a safety belt or an airbag. But it could also be stopped by a steering wheel, a windshield, a dashboard, even the crumpled up metal of the car itself. 

Seatbelts are designed to distribute the force from rapid deceleration across stronger parts of your body. But there’s a catch: if you do not wear your seatbelt correctly, it may cause injury, instead of preventing it. Properly worn seatbelts save lives. 

What happens to a skin-and-bone body when moving metal containers crash? There are several scary possibilities. 

So many ways to get injured – or worse

Some of the most common injuries during accidents include scrapes, cuts and bruises to limbs. Flying objects in the car can hurt your arms and legs as the flail from side to side. Especially when the impact occurs from the side – where only 10-15cm of metal protects you. However your car is hit – one or more of your limbs will probably be damaged.

The possibility of broken bones is very real. Injuries can be immediate: your arms, legs, spine, neck, hands and ribs can all break on impact. Long term damage can also occur, especially with spinal injuries or severe whiplash. Whiplash is damage to the muscles and ligaments of the neck, as it moves in ways that is not natural for it. 

Other than broken bones, sprains and fractures (such as T-fractures or hairline fractures) can also occur. These can be very painful and potentially life threatening – especially if they occur at the skull, spine or ribcage. 

Soft tissue and muscle damage can also have lasting consequences. Muscles can tear, or detach from bones, or even be impaled or severed. 

The brain can also be injured. Many accident victims suffer from concussions… but serious brain damage and bleeding on the brain can also occur. 

Then there are your organs. 

These can be hurt by the kinetic energy alone – as your organs slam into your ribcage at the moment of impact. This can result in some gory consequences… such as when organ matter leaks into the body cavities. If your bowels rupture, the contents will leak out – either into your body or out of your body. Potentially, both. 

Broken bones. Ruptured organs. Whiplash, soft tissue damage, torn ligaments or concussions.

Some less obvious consequences

When you are in a crash, your body releases adrenalin and endorphins. Adrenaline is known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. The endorphins prevent you from hyperventilating and fainting – and may numb the pain you are in. The downside of this is that you may not necessarily feel the damage you have suffered – especially internally. It is essential that if a medical professional recommends you go to hospital that you do. 

Protect yourself

Always drive safely: avoid speeding, do not drink while intoxicated, maintain your vehicle, wear your safety belt and avoid aggressive or risky road behaviour. Accident happen, but you can protect yourself. 

To protect your vehicle as well, responsible motorists will also choose an affordable, reliable insurance provider. Get a quote from Old Mutual iWYZE today for all of the above.  

Old Mutual Insure Ltd is an authorised FSP (FSP12). Risk profile dependent. Terms and conditions apply. 

Terms and conditions apply. Please note that the content displayed on this site is for information purposes only and does not replace our policies’ terms and conditions. The policy wording supersedes any marketing material. Any claim will be considered against the terms and conditions that apply at the time of claim and as set out in out customers’ policy documentation.