22 March 2012
The next time you decide to drive without a seat belt or ride a bike without a helmet, remember that head injuries and steering wheel injuries cause maximum deaths in road accidents.
Heads of emergency medical services (EMS) units at various hospitals said poor traffic discipline, speeding and drunk driving were the major reasons for fatal accidents.
Dr Manisha Bobade, medical superintendent and former head of EMS unit, Jehangir Hospital said steering wheel injuries in car accidents were a hidden silent killer.
“Wearing of helmets by bikers or seat belts by cars drivers is low. Most accidents are high velocity and the driver is thrown forward. If the person has worn a seat belt, it prevents the sudden movement. That prevents head injury and injury to spine as well. For bikers, the most important area to protect is the head, which is very simple if a helmet is worn,” said Bobade.
“Amongst four–wheeler drivers, steering wheel injuries are important. Many vehicles don’t have airbags and during an accident, the chest gets pressed against the steering wheel at high impact. All internal organs including heart and lungs can get affected, but there are hardly any external marks like bruises or fractures. A person concentrates on a bleeding leg but doesn’t know the steering wheel might have caused serious damage,” said Bobade. If not detected, a person can die due to a steering wheel injury. “It’s a silent killer, person may go to sleep peacefully and not wake up,” she added.