In Your Car: Avoiding Unknown Dangers

April 05, 2013 by John Oliver
This guest post was written by Dan Riedel, an Account Executive from Woller-Anger Insurance and an independent insurance agent for West Bend. Dan has over 20 years of experience working with child care providers, youth programs and schools. Dan regularly presents and prepares child safety materials, and is an active member of the Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association (WCCAA).

Did you know many automobile injuries are actually caused by objects from within your car? During the past year, we had a customer slam on their brakes to avoid a collision, only to have a piece of equipment from the back seat catapult to the front and smash their car’s console and navigation system. Fortunately, our customer was not injured.

Having been in an accident where I was hit by a semi many years ago, I distinctly recall my cell phone and leather bound notebook ricocheting off my windshield and then into the cargo area of my Chevy Blazer. All the loose items that were in the back ended up in the front and all the items in the front ended up in the back. I, too, was fortunate to have not been hit by anything.

A gentleman from Mequon, Wisconsin, and a young child from Cedarburg, Wisconsin, were each injured in separate accidents by booster seats that were not fastened down. In each situation, the empty booster seats flew through the air and struck the individuals in the head and face causing injuries that required surgery. I encourage you to read more about how these booster seats injured the car passengers.

After reading the article, I also decided to talk to several friends with children and found that not a single one had ever thought of fastening or removing a booster seat from their car when their children were not using it.

Consider this during an accident: a 20 pound unsecured object can fly through the air with 1,000 pounds of force. Loose objects in a moving vehicle are responsible for an estimated 13,000 injuries a year. Take a moment to think about other items that you may have in your car — computers, tablets, GPS devices, pets, crates, tool boxes, suitcases, sports equipment, books, storage bins etc. Many of us tend to live out of our vehicles, planning our daily route each morning and loading up the kids or what we will need to make it through the day.

When traveling in a vehicle what can you do to protect yourself?

Consider the following tips:

  • Pack most items in a trunk or cargo area of your vehicle. This makes items less likely to intrude into the passenger compartment during an accident.
  • If your vehicle has a cargo area instead of a trunk, utilize cargo nets, anchors and tethers.
  • Large items that need to be in inside the vehicle should be placed to make sure that the maximum amount of surface area makes contact with the backseats and positioned in such a manner that would prevent movement or shifting.
  • If you have booster seats in your vehicle make sure to properly fasten or remove them from the vehicle when not in use. Make sure to read the instructions, and if you are getting a handed down seat from a relative make sure to ask them for a copy of the instructions.
  • Leave objects at home that you don’t need for your trip.
  • Use the glove compartment to store personal items such as cell phones, sunglasses, or electronic devices.

In society where people are in a hurry to get from point A to point B, taking an extra moment to look around your vehicle and make sure your items are secure can make the difference. In an accident, you could potentially walk away and lessen the potential for injury, or you could expose you, your children or your passengers to the possibility of suffering from a preventable injury. Please, take the time to check and improve the safety of your vehilce.

Connecting with Dan Riedel and Woller-Anger

Interested in getting in touch with Dan? You can reach out to him directly on his profile page, on LinkedIn, or through the Woller-Anger Facebook Page.

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