Surrey, England – Two out of three drivers do not know how to correctly position their head restraints to protect against injury, according to a new British survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Insurance.

Two out of three drivers never or rarely check their head restraints as well, the study found.

Most drivers surveyed said they either didn’t know how to correctly position the head restraints, or incorrectly thought that the top of the restraint should be level with the neck or ears. Only one-third gave the correct answer: the top of the head restraint should be level with the top of the head, giving it protection and preventing the neck from “hyper-extending” backwards in a crash.

“Even if drivers did regularly check their head restraint, the research shows us that most drivers wouldn’t have a clue whether it was correct or not, which largely explains why they don’t bother,” said Mary Williams, chief executive of Brake. “There needs to be a major awareness-raising campaign on this life-saving, simple measure we can all take. Incorrect head restraints result in death, permanent disability, and in the more minor cases, excruciating back and neck pain. Yet it only takes a couple of seconds to check and adjust your restraint and those of other occupants in your vehicle.”

Brake recommends the following:

– Adjust your seat so that it is upright, not in a reclined position. The head restraint should be as close to the back of your head as possible, and ideally touching it. This might also mean moving your seat backwards, away from the steering wheel.

– Adjust the head restraint so that its top is level with the top of your head.

– Ensure that the restraint is securely fastened and won’t fall down. If it is broken, get it fixed.

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