The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of serious injury and death in the U.S. Motor vehicle accidents, of course, are a common cause of TBIs.

Because your car has many safety features, you may emerge from a collision without sustaining a TBI. If you suffer one, though, it is likely to be for one of the following reasons.

1. Impact with a fixed object

You should wear your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. After all, your seat belt holds you in place during a crash.

Nonetheless, if you hit your head on a steering wheel, dashboard or another fixed object, you may be susceptible to a TBI and related complications.

2. Rapid deceleration

While blunt-force trauma is a common cause of TBIs, you do not have to hit your head to suffer a brain injury. If your brain collides with your skull, you may develop a TBI.

Rapid deceleration often happens during collisions as vehicles go from highway speeds to sudden stops. This fast decrease in speed may cause your brain to move inside your skull, increasing your risk of sustaining a TBI.

3. Evacuations

Your risk of sustaining a brain injury does not end immediately after a collision. When trying to evacuate wreckage, you may endanger your head in a variety of ways. For example, you may fall and smack your head on the pavement.

If you do not believe you can evacuate your vehicle safely, you may want to wait for emergency responders to arrive. Nonetheless, if you hit your head or decelerate rapidly during a crash or when evacuating, you should probably seek emergency medical treatment.