Should You Brace Yourself in a Car Accident?

You are stopped at a red light. As you wait for the light to turn green, a car comes up behind you. As you look in your rear-view mirror, you notice the driver is not slowing down. You start blaring your horn, but within seconds the driver smashes into your rear. 

Many drivers have been in this particular situation. If you have recently suffered injuries in a car accident, the attorneys at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law are available to address your concerns.

Firefighters helping an injured woman in a car

Does Bracing Prevent Injury?

There is a myth that if you relax when a collision is about to occur, you will suffer lesser injuries in the crash. This is simply not true. By relaxing, these spinal nerves, ligaments, and discs take the brunt force of the impact. 

If you brace for impact, you will better protect the nerves, ligaments, and vertebral discs in your neck. In tensing, your muscles will be affected, not spinal structures. It is much easier for muscles to heal than your spine. 

In studies examining bracing for frontal crashes, bracing also had the added potential to reduce hip fractures. Hip fractures are common in car accidents due to the severe impact that the body sustains.  

How Should I Prepare for a Rear-End Collision?

In order to protect yourself in a rear-end collision, you should:

  • Always look forward; never lean forward or turn your head to the side
  • Brace your head against the headrest
  • Push your foot on the brake pedal and push your back squarely against the backseat
  • Tense up

Some doctors refer to this as a “brace position.” If you take a “brace position” moments before impact, you can dramatically decrease your chances of any long-term injuries. In fact, those who brace for impact can expect milder injuries and a shorter recovery period.

Although bracing cannot altogether prevent injury, it can help reduce the force impact of the collision.

What Type of Injuries Can You Suffer in a Collision?

Common injuries that are associated with car accidents include:


Whiplash is a common car accident injury. Upon impact, your head jerks back and forth, causing soft tissue injury and damage to the vertebrae in your neck. In bracing for impact, you may be able to minimize the force of the crash.

Broken or bruised ribs

Ribs are commonly injured when the chest comes in contact with the steering wheel. Depending on the velocity of the collision, damaged ribs may be unavoidable. Other causes of broken or bruised ribs may be the passenger coming in contact with the dashboard or the force of the seatbelt upon impact.

Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is the degeneration of joints after someone suffers trauma to the body, such as in a car accident. It often starts with a bone fracture or dislocation. The sufferer may experience pain or stiffness in the affected area of the body.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A car accident victim can suffer a traumatic brain injury or TBI. A TBI is caused by a forceful blow to the head and can interfere with normal brain function. TBIs can result in brain bleeds, brain swelling, or blood clots, to name a few.

There is a range of symptoms, such as loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, confusion, and memory problems.

If caught early, a TBI is often treatable. Since the symptoms of a TBI are often subtle, car accident victims may go undiagnosed. In more serious cases, this can be fatal. 

Heart attack

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, takes place when blood flow is prevented from traveling to the heart. A high-impact collision can damage your arteries and even your heart, or even cause a clot that travels to the heart, impeding blood flow. 

Compensation for Car Accidents

If you suffered any losses or injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation, known as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages seek to make the injured party “whole” again.

There are two main types of compensation in any injury claim: special and general damages.

Special damages are losses that can be easily calculated. They are also referred to as tangible losses. 

Special damages include:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Car repairs or replacement

In contrast, general damages are losses that are intangible but affect the victim’s quality of life.

General damages include:

  • Pain and suffer
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement

Both special and general damages are known as compensatory damages. If you feel that the liable party was extremely negligent, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages, but this is less common. 

What are Other Ways to Avoid Long-Term Injuries?

In addition to bracing for impact, there are other ways to avoid long-term injuries:

  • Keep your distance: by keeping a car length distance between you and the lead vehicle, you can avoid a frontal crash
  • Don’t drive fatigued: if you are tired, don’t get behind the wheel. Both your judgment and reaction time will be affected.
  • Don’t drive intoxicated: if you have been drinking, the last thing you want to do is drive. Driving while impaired can lead to dire consequences.
  • Don’t drive distracted: Distracted driving can range from talking on your cell phone to changing the radio station.
  • Be prepared to drive in inclement weather: if you are driving under less than ideal road or weather conditions, be prepared to take the necessary precautions.

Even taking all the necessary precautions, accidents still take place. If you have been the victim of a car accident, it is important to speak with a San Antonio car accident lawyer today.

Contact a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you have time to brace for impact, you can still suffer injuries. You deserve to be justly compensated for your struggles. Don’t allow the responsible party “off the hook.” Contact Cesar Ornelas Injury Law today to schedule your free consultation.  Start protecting your rights.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at: (855) 930-1149

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