Your life is changed in less than 1/500th of a second when you are involved in a crash. Studies prove that over 90% is because of driver error – that is no accident. Since most Americans spend over an hour a day in their cars we all share in the risk of being involved in a crash. Trauma associated with crash ranges from no symptoms to death. Some people involved in a rear end crash will have symptoms such as headaches for over twenty years post the event.
So as a driver pay attention and look at the road ahead. Be aware at all times. If you are traveling at 50-65 miles per hour taking your eyes off the road for twenty to thirty seconds you will have traveled one third to one half of a mile. Things begin to happen quickly always look ahead and keep plenty of distance between you and the other vehicles on the road. Also be aware of option for escape routes if people in front of you crash – like a shoulder. So be alert. When you are tired please get off of the road. It is cheaper to rent a hotel room than to be involved in a crash.
Distraction have to be limited when driving. In the US we have over 1 million crashes annually costing well over $240 billion and many changed lives and possibly extinguished. Almost anything can be a driving distraction; have you looked at your GPS while driving? If you have time to get fast food eat it while parked. It is hard to drive with cheese falling on to you from your taco or ketchup dripping onto your shirt from the partially wrapped burger you are trying to choke down. Apply makeup at home or after you park. Imagine causing someone to suffer for years because you had to put on lipstick in the car? Adjust the stations at home preset them to prevent distraction manipulation of the controls. When you rent a car please become familiar with all controls and adjust your mirrors before leaving the parking lot. Know where your emergency flasher button is located. If your children or passengers are not behaving well take a break for a while until things settle down. Even involved discussions with other vehicle occupants cause distractions to the driver.
I know you have heard of the issues surrounding texting or talking on the phone while driving. The distraction is the loss of focus and this could have grave consequences for not just you but your passengers and the innocent people in the other vehicles you collide with. You mind can become too involved in a phone conversation and texting takes your eyes totally off the road for more than 20 seconds at time. When a driver texts they have a 23 times greater chance to become involved in a crash.
According to the IIHS “a total of 22,543 passenger vehicle occupants died in 2015, 26 percent fewer than in 1975. As pickups and SUVs have become more popular, the distribution of vehicle types in fatal crashes has changed. Car occupant deaths have declined 49 percent since 1975, while pickup occupant deaths have risen 22 percent and SUV occupant deaths are 10 times as high.”
Doctors of Chiropractic are an integral part of your health care team. Following any trauma have a complete spinal exam as soon as possible. Your DC will identify the issues and help get you additional medical care when needed. Soreness, headache and pain following trauma is not unusual. It is just a sign that something is wrong and should be addressed. It is not something you have to live with. Time will heal many injuries; however, to decrease your chances of chronic pain and limited movement always pay attention when you drive.
– Dr. Philip Facquet III, Smithtown Chiropractor, DC.