AXA reveals poor head restraints put two thirds at increased risk of whiplash
Recent research we carried out, estimates that hundreds of thousands of whiplash claims could be prevented each year with better head restraints and seats in UK cars.
The research, carried out in conjunction with leading motor research organisation Thatcham, found that only 34% of cars on the UK’s roads have head restraints and seats that would be categorised as "good" when it comes to reducing the risk of the driver being the victim of whiplash injuries.
The research also found that many drivers are not aware of how to adjust their head restraints (26%)*, but also that only 39% of people ever adjust their head restraint. Only 23% of drivers said that they had been shown how their head restraint should be set - 13% when they bought their car.
Robin Reames, chief claims officer at AXA says: "The car insurance industry pays out billions each year in whiplash claims and as an organisation we have been working hard to bring down these costs including a successful campaign last year to ban referral fees.
"However, consumer awareness of prevention is another key step in bringing down the cost. It seems the majority of people are unaware of how they can help themselves and even if they are aware they do little about it."
Tips on reducing your whiplash risk:
• To be effective, a head restraint must be as close to the back of the head as possible (touching is best) and the top of the restraint should be as high as the top of the head. Remember it is a head restraint, not a headrest
• If you have a very old or 'spongy' restraint, look at replacing it or buying an add on pad
• Bring your seat to an upright position that will set the head restraint just behind your head
• Sometimes hats/hair accessories can make a head restraint feel uncomfortable. But for safety the headwear should be removed rather than the head restraint pushed back
• If you are thinking of buying a new car, check out the Thatcham rating for the models you are considering
* Consumer research carried out by Onepoll among 2000 UK adults in December 2011