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The most common type of crash is being struck from the rear by another vehicle.

When a car is struck from the rear it is accelerated forward which causes the seat back to push against the body and propel it forward while the head lags behind until the neck reaches the spines structural limit. 

The head is then suddenly accelerated forward by the neck (the red bones in the picture) like the tip of a whip causing a “whiplash” injury which damages the spine and nerves.

A properly constructed and adjusted head rest protects the neck by preventing the neck and head being left behind as the seat accelerates the body forward during the crash.

Adjust the headrest so that the top of the headrest is level with the top of your head and sit so that your head is no more than 50 millimeters from the headrest.

Drivers are at greatest risk of whiplash injury as often the driver moves their head forward away from the headrest to improve their vision of the road.

The further from the headrest the head is the greater the distance the neck can whiplash through and the greater the risk of serious spine and nerve injury.


  • Ensure that the top of the head rest is as high as the top of your head
  • Position the headrest as close to the rear of your head as possible
  • Encourage your passengers to correctly adjust their headrests every trip.

Thank you BodyParts3D/Anatomography for the use of the graphic.

Call or text Drivetime 0433 499 944  to book your driving lesson and your Drivetime driving instructor will help you to build these important skills and prepare you for safe driving and your licence test.