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Properly Adjusted Headrests Prevent Injuries

Vehicle & Road Safety

Taking time to properly adjust the headrest in your vehicle can help prevent injury. That’s the message from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in its national safety awareness campaign, Rest up! Save your neck.

Whiplash and other related injuries are painful for collision victims and can end up being costly for insurance policyholders. Insurance companies spend approximately $4 billion annually to help people recover from soft tissue injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions. Soft tissue injuries are those that do not involve bones or organs. Rear-end collisions account for 80 per cent of these injuries.

A Canadian study on headrest use, funded by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), found that only 14 per cent of Canadian drivers (more women than men) had their headrests adjusted in the ‘good’ position. For 53 per cent of the drivers observed, the adjustment was so inadequate that it would not protect them from injury in a rear-end collision.

According to IBC, soft tissue injuries are largely preventable, given that about 75 per cent of the headrests in vehicles today are adjustable. Drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of whiplash simply by raising their headrests to a safe position, where the headrest is level with the top of the head and 5 to 10 cm from the back of the head.

If Canadians followed this simple guideline, the number of neck injuries could be reduced by about 40 per cent. That could save people from unnecessary pain and suffering, and policyholders could end up saving money on their insurance premiums.

Rest up! Save your neck is a national awareness campaign, focusing on educating drivers about the proper adjustment of their vehicle headrest to help prevent whiplash and soft tissue injuries.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90 per cent of the insurance companies that provide non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. For more information, visit the media section of the web site at

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