Would Getting Crushed by a Garage Door Kill You?

Ever considered your garage door as more than just a functional aspect of your home? We’re talking about a pretty heavy piece of equipment that swings up and down every day, powered by some serious force.

Now that can sound a tad intimidating, right? But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the nitty-gritty of garage door mechanics and the safety aspects you need to know.

In this blog post, we’ll be sharing some fascinating insights about how your garage door works, common accidents that can happen, and crucial safety tips to keep in mind.

So strap in and let’s start this enlightening journey about our everyday unsung hero, the humble garage door!

Understanding the Dangers of Garage Doors

Think about your garage door. It’s a heavy object, right? It can weigh anywhere from 130 to 180 pounds, even more if it’s a big one.

That’s a lot of weight to move, so it needs some strong forces to get it going up and down.

That’s where a spring-loaded mechanism or an electric motor comes in. They do the heavy lifting. And I mean heavy!

But here’s the thing: they can exert a lot of force. If they’re not controlled right, they can be dangerous.

When Garage Doors Misbehave: Common Accidents

So, how do garage doors cause accidents? Let me count the ways.

  1. Pinching: You know the gaps between the door sections? Fingers or other body parts can get pinched in there when the door closes.
  2. Door Strikes: Sometimes, a door can drop like a rock. If you’re under it, ouch!
  3. Spring Snaps: Those high-tension torsion springs I mentioned earlier? They can snap, and you don’t want to be near when that happens.

The NEISS database reports that more than 2,000 people are injured each year in the U.S. by accidents involving a garage door.

But don’t worry too much. With the right care and safety practices, these accidents can be avoided.

Could a Garage Door Really Kill You? Let’s Break it Down

Let’s put our science hats on for a moment. To understand how a garage door could hurt you, we need to talk about physics.

Remember, a typical garage door can weigh up to 180 pounds. When it’s up, gravity is itching to pull it down.

So, what happens if it falls on you? Well, it depends on how it hits. If the door lands flat on you while you’re lying down, it spreads the pressure out over a larger area.

But if an edge of the door hits your head or limb, all that force focuses on a small area. That’s when you can get seriously hurt.

From a Doctor’s View: What Could a Falling Garage Door Do to You?

Now, let’s talk about the potential injuries from a doctor’s perspective. The severity of the injuries would depend on how, how fast, and where the door hits you.

You could end up with anything from fractures to internal injuries. If the door hits your head, you might get a traumatic brain injury.

If it hits your chest, it could damage your ribs, lungs, or even your heart. And if it lands on a limb, it could fracture or even crush it.

When Things Get Really Bad: Fatal Scenarios

The worst-case scenarios could lead to death. A strong hit to the head could cause a severe brain injury.

A hard hit to the chest could rupture your aorta, collapse your lungs, or even stop your heart.

But here’s the good news: these fatal scenarios are rare. Modern garage doors have safety features to prevent such accidents.

For instance, they’re designed to stop or go back up if they hit something. They also have sensors to detect if anything (or anyone) is in the way.

So, while these scary scenarios are possible in theory, the safety features of modern garage doors make them unlikely.

How Your Garage Door’s Safety Features Have Your Back

Garage door manufacturers aren’t just about making doors that look good. They’re serious about safety too. That’s why they came up with safety sensors and auto-reverse mechanisms.

Ok, actually they were forced by a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) rule. The new rule required all garage doors manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 to conform to entrapment protection requirements.

As a result of this rule, safety sensors, also known as “photo-eye sensors” came to life. They are usually low to the ground on either side of your garage door.

They send out an invisible beam across the door. If anything breaks that beam—like your kid, your dog, or your car—the door gets the message to stop and go back up.

The auto-reverse mechanism is another cool feature. If the door hits something on the way down, it stops and goes back up. Simple as that.

The Super Handy Manual Release Function

Ever noticed a cord with a handle hanging from your garage door opener? That’s the manual release. It’s there for you in case of a power outage or if your opener stops working.

It lets you disconnect the door from the automatic system so you can move the door yourself.

Just remember to reconnect it once the power’s back on or the opener’s fixed.

How Well Do These Safety Features Work, Anyway?

Turns out, they work pretty well. Garage door injuries have gone down since these safety features came in.

But remember, they only work if you use them right. For example, if you install the safety sensors too high, a small kid or pet could slip under without being detected.

Your garage door’s safety features can’t make it 100% risk-free, but they make it much safer. Just keep them in good shape with regular checks, and make sure you know how to use them properly.

Your Handy Guide to Garage Door Safety

Keeping your garage door in good shape is key to making it work safely. Here are some top tips for regular upkeep:

  • Be a Garage Door Detective: Look for clues of trouble like frayed cables, bent tracks, or loose bolts.
  • Check the Balance: Pull the release handle and move the door halfway up. If it doesn’t stay there, your springs might be off balance. Time to call a pro.
  • Give Your Door a Spa Day: Regularly pampering your rollers, springs, and hinges with some lubrication can keep them working smoothly and happily.
  • Test the Auto-Reverse: Lay a piece of wood in the door’s path. If the door doesn’t stop and go back up when it hits the wood, it’s time to call in some professional help.
  • Keep an Eye on the Safety Sensors: Make sure they’re working well and lined up right. If something’s blocking them, the door should refuse to close.

Using Your Garage Door Right

Using your garage door properly is another big part of keeping things safe. Here are some golden rules:

  • Don’t Play Chicken with Your Door: Teach your kids to stay clear of the door when it’s moving.
  • Keep Remotes Away from Little Hands: Kids + remotes = not a good mix.
  • Watch Your Fingers: Keep your fingers away from the door sections when it’s moving.
  • No Speeding: Wait for the door to fully open or close before driving in or out. No need to rush.

Stuck Under the Door? Don’t Panic!

It’s super unlikely, but if you ever get trapped under a garage door, remember:

  • Stay Calm: You’ll think clearer that way.
  • Call for Help: If you can reach a phone or there’s someone nearby, shout out or dial for help.
  • Try the Manual Release: If you can, pull the manual release cord. This should let you lift the door.
  • Move Slowly: If you can move without causing more harm, slowly and carefully get yourself free.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular maintenance and safe habits can stop most accidents before they happen.

Garage Door Safety Awareness 2022

The International Door Association (IDA) has launched an annual “Garage Door Safety” month due to the numerous reported injuries from garage doors.

In 2022, the garage door safety was observed in May. This is a video for the occasion produced by Shamrock Overhead Door.


Well, there you have it! You’re now armed with everything you need to know about your garage door and how to keep things safe. Remember, your garage door is not just about looking great and protecting your stuff.

It’s a hefty piece of machinery that deserves respect and regular TLC. So let’s be careful out there, and ensure we give our garage doors the attention they need.

Keep those maintenance tips in mind, don’t rush while using it, and always prioritize safety. Thanks for hanging out with us today!

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