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What Happens to Your Body in a High-Speed Car Crash

Updated November 5, 2019 65.5k views17 items

Car accidents are horrifyingly common and, unfortunately, highly deadly. Over a million people die in car accidents every year, and the causes of death in these crashes are wildly numerous. High-speed collisions are some of the worst, and the effects of a car crash of that type on your body are as terrifying as they are fascinating. Between the way your brain reacts, the way your organs react, and the way you physically react, it's a wonder anyone survives these kinds of super-fast collisions at all!

What happens to your body in a car crash can, at best, be called pretty gross, and, at worst, be called absolutely sickening. Because of this, be warned that what you are about to read gets graphic at times. Still, let's hope that you can read it here rather than experiencing it first hand.

So, if you're curious about how your body reacts in a car crash, then rev your engines and let's get on the road. And if you learn anything from these facts, it's that driving safely, while wearing a seatbelt is definitely the way to go.

  • Your Bowels Might Leak Into Your Chest

    So, you've just been in a high-speed auto collision. You'll probably have broken ribs, a punctured chest cavity, bruised and swollen organs, and a potentially crushed body, so it stands to reason that there may be some tears inside you. You could have a ruptured spleen, heart, and lungs, but that's not the most disgusting thing that can happen. 

    On occasion, your bowels can rupture during a high-speed collision, and this means that the contents will leak out. You'll end up with bile and human waste sloshing around in your stomach and chest cavity. This is one of the fastest ways to get sepsis, which can quickly turn deadly. It's also one of the hardest places to repair, considering there are so many areas of the bowel that could have been damaged. 

  • You May Have Internal Bleeding And Not Feel It

    When you're in a car accident, your body doesn't just release adrenaline; it also releases endorphins, which make you feel good and happy. This means you're less likely to feel pain, and you're less likely to hyperventilate and make yourself faint. But it also has a huge potential problem. Because your ribs may break, and because your internal organs will impact your internal abdominal wall, this can cause them to rupture and begin to bleed. With adrenaline and endorphins surging, you are actually unlikely to feel it. You may want to just go home and avoid a costly hospital visit, but if you do, it can result in internal bleeding that can cause death.

    So, when a medical professional insists that you go to the hospital to get checked out, it's wise to do as they ask. You may not know just how bad things have gotten.

  • Your Internal Organs Will Hit Your Chest Wall And Skeleton

    When your body stops moving - with the help of a seatbelt and airbag - that means you're okay, right? Not quite. You see, your organs have a fair amount of room to move around inside of you, and they'll still try to keep moving at the speed of your car. They'll be crushed forward against the front abdominal wall, which can bruise and damage them. You may feel like your organs have actually moved around after an accident, and that's not exactly wrong.

    This organ movement is particularly problematic for your lungs. If your ribs puncture the cavity around your lungs, your chest will be able to expand as normal, but your lungs simply won't. This is called "pneumothorax," and it basically means you have air in the space between your lungs and ribcage, which can be damaging to your breathing and long-term survival.

  • Your Ribs And Collarbone May Break

    Because you're moving with extreme force, and the seatbelt is such a narrow and strong piece of technology, it can cause seriously problems to your bones upon collision. The seatbelt tends to rest directly across your collarbone where there isn't much padding, so that bone takes a lot of the impact. Given that it's not exactly your strongest bone, a high-speed impact means it may snap. If you're driving, the left side of your collarbone will break, and if you're a passenger, it'll be the right. 

    Let's say it's a really, really high-speed impact, and you're wearing your seatbelt. In some cases, at incredibly high speeds in frontal collisions, you'll also feel a snapping lower down in your ribs. The faster you're going, the more ribs that will break, and once one goes, it decreases the integrity of your entire ribcage, making other breaks more likely.