Female Drivers Face Higher Injury Risk

Female drivers are at greater risk for becoming injured in car accidents because safety designs are tailored for men, a national study shows.

Researchers compared crash data involving men and women from 1998 to 2008, according to a news release from the American Public Health Association.

“The results from the this study suggest that belted female drivers are more susceptible to injuries compared with belted male drivers when involved in a comparable motor vehicle crash,” the news release states.

Researchers also found that “belted female drivers exhibited a higher risk of chest and spine injuries compared with male counterparts in comparable crashes.”

The peer-reviewed study was published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

To reduce your risk and avoid a trip to the emergency room, practice safety guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Always wear a seat belt. Make sure it fits you properly. The shoulder belt should go across the middle of your chest, away from your neck. The lap belt should rest across your hips, below your stomach.

The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage because these parts of your body are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body, according to the NHTSA.

Ask your car’s dealer if you need a seat belt adjuster to help you get the best fit. If the belt is too small, contact the vehicle’s manufacturer to obtain a seat belt extender. Older cars that have lap belts only may be retrofitted with a lap/shoulder belt.

Sources: American Public Health Association; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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