Car accidents are unfortunately common occurrences that can lead to various types of injuries. Among the most serious and life-altering injuries that can result from a car crash is a traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as a TBI.

Understanding what causes TBIs in car accidents is important for preventing and addressing these devastating consequences.

Forceful impact

The primary cause of traumatic brain injuries in car accidents is the forceful impact that occurs during a collision. When two vehicles hit one another or a vehicle strikes a stationary object, the abrupt deceleration of the car and the rapid change in motion can lead to a TBI.

This happens because the brain can collide with the interior of the skull when a sudden stop or change in direction occurs.

Head-on collisions

Considering 214,110 people went to the hospital with traumatic brain injuries in 2020, anyone in a crash should not underestimate how quickly a TBI can happen. Head-on collisions are particularly dangerous and often result in severe TBIs.

When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide, the combined force can cause a violent jolt to the occupants’ heads, increasing the risk of brain injury. Even with seat belts and airbags, the impact can be substantial enough to cause this problem.

Side-impact crashes

Side-impact crashes, also known as T-bone accidents, can lead to TBIs as well. This kind of accident can cause the brain to shift inside the skull, leading to injury. Side-impact airbags and reinforced side panels in vehicles aim to reduce the risk, but TBIs can still occur.

Rollover accidents

Rollover accidents involve the vehicle flipping over onto its side or roof. During a rollover, the occupants can experience multiple impacts with the interior of the car, increasing the likelihood of head injuries and TBIs. Roof crushes can exacerbate the risk.

Ejection from the vehicle

When a car accident leads to an occupant forcefully falling out of a vehicle, the chances of sustaining a traumatic brain injury are significantly higher. Ejections often involve the individual’s head making direct contact with the ground or other objects, causing severe head trauma.

Unrestrained occupants

Failure to wear seat belts significantly increases the risk of a TBI in a car accident. Seat belts are there to prevent occupants from falling around inside the vehicle upon impact, thus reducing the chances of head injuries.

The need for ongoing research to improve vehicle safety reflects the large amount of traumatic brain injuries that happen. Whether someone is dealing with a crash on a highway or back road, a TBI can bring them long-term complications.

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