One of the most common issues with low speed collisions is determining the extent of the damage. The real world practice, typical to the situation is to examine the outside of the vehicle and document any damage. The problem with this is not knowing the extent of the damage behind the exterior panels. Very few cases have had a thorough and complete vehicle examination after an automobile accident. The question is why?
The crash re-constructionist has a tedious job ahead of him when facing a collision with what appears to be minimal damage at first glance. Happer et al (2003) acknowledges that different vehicles will have different damage, or appearance of damage, at the exact same speed due to their different designs. The objective of the paper was to provide a sound method. Happer et al (2003) also states that which the physical evidence remaining after the effect has to be reviewed. This process begins with splitting bumpers into three categories. In this writing we’ll focus on reinforcement beams which utilize a polymer absorber.
These bumpers are categorized as having a metal reinforcement beam having a polymer absorber behind a urethane or plastic cover; this is the bumper to concentrate on as the bulk of the vehicles on the road today are constructed in this manner.
The objective of the polymer structure is to crush below a load to reduce the damage during speed collisions to your vehicle. This structure reduces or eliminates the damage to components and thus will lower the expense of repair too. The energy necessary to deform the polymer structure reduces the likelihood of damage. When the polymer structure doesn’t deform what are the consequences? How can one be sure the damage is limited to exactly what we see?
Let’s take a minute and draw a comparison. Dr. Studin has frequently spoken of strains and sprains. As a quick recap, there are 3 levels, fibers & the tissue stretches, and secondary begins to tear the tissue & fibers, and tertiary is a complete tearing of the tissue and fibers. When a patient has a complaint of pain and there are no outwards signs of trauma, i.e.: no scrapes, bruising, or other wounds, some form of medical imaging is arranged. The imaging is arranged to see inside the patient and determine if there is any internal injury. Trauma to your disc in the cervical spine (neck) is a good illustration of an injury which wouldn’t be expected to show up on any physical exam but should be easily seen in a good medical imaging procedure and with correct image interpretation or reading.
The concept of examining a patient completely to determine the source of the problem is exactly the identical template that needs to be applied to a vehicle inspection. A comprehensive inspection demands measuring the structural components against known factory specifications, this process could entail the elimination of the bumper cover, grill, headlights, and other components to guarantee accuracy. As time passes, systems can elude to damage. As an example, if the geometry of the suspension altered due to a collision the alignment could be off resulting in uneven tire wear. It would take some time for the wear patterns at the tires to change.
The concern for this amount of detail can be summarized by saying any energy that is absorbed by the vehicle, but not accounted for, will reduce the final calculated speeds. If you want to be sure about the outcome, you will need to be certain about the facts and must have all the internal protective structures examined, not only the “skin of the vehicle.”
A perfect understructure can indicate substantial energy transferences to the occupant, where “crushed” understructures can mean the car absorbed or deflected the energy and protected the occupant.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Happer, A., Hughes, M., Peck, M., and Boehme, S., “Practical Analysis Methodology for Low Speed Vehicle Collisions Involving Vehicles with Modern Bumper Systems,” SAE Technical Paper 2003-01-0492, 2003, doi:10.4271/2003-01-0492.
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