Even small “fender bender” car collisions where there are no visible signs of damage to the vehicle can generate enough g-force, or force of gravity, to damage the delicate anatomical structures of the head, neck and spine. In fact, while a jet plane exerts about 9 g’s of velocity change on your spine, a 36 mile per hour collision exerts over 10 g’s while a 6 mile per hour collision exerts over 13 g’s.
This is caused by a change in velocity (moving objects abruptly colliding and stopping) combined with the vehicle’s “crush” factor. Newer model vehicles are designed to leave occupants “room to live.” This is accomplished by the front and rear of the vehicles crushing and absorbing the force of the collision. At 6 miles per hour, the vehicles involved in the accident do not crush. As a result, the force goes through the human occupant.
Ironically, emergency room doctors will routinely tell a patient injured in an auto collision that he or she is okay, typically meaning that the spine did not fracture. They are not speaking to whether the neck curve or spine ligaments are damaged. In many cases, problems associated with these injuries may remain dormant for days or even weeks before they manifest, especially in low speed car collisions..