Most drivers are well aware of the word ‘whiplash’ even if they’ve never experienced the physical discomfort it can bring. That’s because Britain has been called the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, with 80 per cent of personal injury claims following a car crash involving whiplash.
The government says one whiplash claim is paid out every 60 seconds, and has launched a consultation as it attempts to tackle the problem. Things have got so bad, jokes have been made about the Britain’s drivers having the weakest necks in the world. But it’s no laughing matter.
The majority of whiplash claims are believed to be bogus claims, estimated to add an extra £1bn to UK drivers’ insurance bills – or £93 for every premium.
And according to Matthew Avery, an expert in car safety, only 10 per cent of claims are from people who have suffered serious injury with long-term side effects.
So how can drivers ensure they aren’t one of the few who suffer serious injury from whiplash?
Even if you’re as handy behind the wheel as Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s three-time Formula One World Champion, and drive one of the most sophisticated supercars money can buy, accidents can happen. Fortunately for Hamilton, no one else was involved in his slightly embarrassing car crash in Monte Carlo. But it shows that a moment’s loss of concentration could lead to a costly crunch. In such an event, which are the safest family cars in an accident?
Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) is an independent, not-for-profit car safety organisation that subjects most new cars to simulated accidents and measures how well they’ll protect passengers and pedestrians.
Volvo was one of the pioneers of Autonomous Braking (Picture © Volvo)
From 2015 new cars must have Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) if they’re to get a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP, the independent crash-safety organisation. The aim is to encourage car makers to fit as standard the system that slows or stops a car automatically if it detects danger.
Read on to find all you need to know about an exciting new technology that could slash the number of accidents on British roads. Continue reading