According to Newton’s first law of motion:
“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”
This law applies to everyone and everything inside your car in an accident. When your car suddenly stops in a collision, unsecured objects and people continue to move forward until they impact against a dashboard, window, person, or barrier that prevents them from moving further. The speeds of these projectiles are close to the car’s speed before impact.
If you and your passengers are seat-belted, then that leaves the various unsecured objects such as bottled drinks (which break into glass fragments), tablets, cell phones, books, suitcases, and tools. All of these items lying about in the car will take to the air and head to the front. If you were ever hit by a flying baseball or hockey puck, that’s about the speed that loose objects in your car can attain. Both the baseball and hockey puck only weigh about one half of a pound.
Loose objects can also cause a car crash. Clutter on top of your dashboard can distract or burn you (if it’s a hot drink) when swerving and cause an accident. Objects on the floor near your feet or under your seat can interfere with your braking or acceleration. They can lodge beneath your brake pedal and prevent you from braking.
Keep your car clutter free. If there is no reason for keeping any particular item, get rid of it. Place other items either in your glove compartment, trunk, or cargo area. Secure all items in a cargo area with ropes, tethers, cords, and safety nets. Place heavy items in your trunk such as toolkits as close to the front (towards the front of the car) as possible. This will prevent them from building up momentum in a severe head-on collision and possibly breaking into the passenger area.
If you must carry unsecured large objects, keep them on the floor against the back side of the front seat. Finally, insist that your passengers buckle up. This ensures their safety as well as yours. Unsecured passengers have caused fatalities to other car occupants.
If you require legal advice because of an injury sustained in a car crash, contact us at Hogan Injury.