You may not be excited about the construction crews rolling in, but the upcoming road work on westbound I-435 could end up saving you from a costly head injury. According to officials, the Johnson County Gateway Project will improve the I-35 and K-10 interchanges along the expressway, helping to prevent the cause of over 85 percent of the accidents along those roads: Rear-end collisions by drivers attempting to get into their exit lanes.
If you’ve ever experienced one of these rear-end crashes, you know that they are at best inconvenient, and at worst a horrible event that will keep you out of work and your car in the shop for weeks on end. But for others, the worst-case scenario is one they never could have predicted after a “minor” car crash.
Can a Rear-End Crash Really Cause a TBI?
Too many injured drivers assume that minor damage to a vehicle means minor damage to themselves. However, rear-end collisions are a major cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Both damage to the car and a lower rate of speed have little bearing on whether a victim will suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash.
Rear-end impacts in particular can have a violent effect on the driver’s head and neck, for a number of reasons:
- Striking objects – Although the seat belt may prevent the driver from being ejected from the car, it may not be able to prevent him from striking his head on the windshield as he is thrown forward or on the head rest as he is thrown back against the seat.
- Pulling back – As the head moves forward and backward, the neck can be pulled between the head and buckled-in body, causing muscle strain, whiplash, and possible cervical spinal injuries.
- Repetitive shaking – Rear-end accidents rarely involve a single movement of the head. Most often, the head is thrown forward and backward several times, forcing the brain to accelerate back and forth inside the skull. The brain may strike the walls of the skull as a result, causing a concussion or neurological injury that can permanently affect the way a person thinks, feels or acts.
While the interchange project may save someone you love from a serious accident in the future, it will take a few years for the project to be complete. If someone in your family is injured in a rear-end car accident on a Kansas City highway, we may be able to help. Click the contact link on the top of this page to tell us what happened to you.