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How a stress response compromises your reaction to a car crash

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Auto Accidents

The human body did not evolve to hurdle around cityscapes at high speeds, but that is exactly what most people do at the beginning and end of their work day every single day. When crashes occur, the human body treats it as it would any other threat in a wild environment.

You will likely experience a fight-or-flight response to an actual collision, as well as to a near-miss that terrifies you. The surge of chemicals in your body when you experience a fight-or-flight reaction or stress response to environmental factors can actually lead to you making big mistakes following a car crash.

How your bodily reaction hurts you

Your stress response exists to save your life in an emergency. You can ignore pain because of the chemicals that flood your body, allowing you to flee a situation that has already injured you and could endanger your life. You stop being a calm and rational person and have tunnel vision, which can help you focus on survival but can also compromise your decision-making ability.

You may not notice the signs of injury after a car crash because your body masks your pain symptoms with a flood of powerful chemicals. On top of that, you may be in such an agitated state that you cannot calmly and reasonably evaluate yourself or the situation. If there are any signs of external injury or if the damage to the vehicles is extensive, then it might benefit you to see a doctor even if you don’t think you have an obvious injury.

You may have an invisible injury, like internal bleeding, which a doctor could catch before it gets worse. You could also have a soft tissue injury that will cause you debilitating pain in the days to come without a prompt diagnosis. Beyond that, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will be for you to get the appropriate compensation from the driver who caused the crash.

Don’t let fear of a minor inconvenience cause a major one

If you have had to wait for an hour to file a police report after a crash, you may not relish the thought of going to wait at a doctor’s office or urgent care facility for another hour or two. Some people make decisions based on short-term expediency after a crash that will affect them for years to come.

Rather than seeking to save a few hours of time and inconvenience, you need to think about the big picture and what an untreated injury could mean for you. Seeing a doctor can help you catch signs of internal injuries more quickly and will create official records that will facilitate a smoother car insurance claim process. Knowing how your body reacts after a car crash can help you choose the right actions to take after a wreck.