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Impaired Driving Dangers and Prevention

Impaired Driving Dangers and Prevention

Impaired driving dangers are a serious reality that take precious lives each year.  They are time-sensitive emergencies that can be prevented.  Lives can be saved.  Let’s get to know about this topic and please help us create awareness to help save lives.  In an average year, 30 million Americans get behind the wheel of a car while drunk, while an estimated 10 million drive while under the influence of an illicit drug.

This year has been anything but average. This year more of us have turned to alcohol to help us cope with the pandemic’s challenges.

This surge in alcohol consumption is concerning because it increases the number of fatal accidents, especially during the Holiday Season.

The Real Cost of Impaired Driving in America

Aside from the $44 billion annual costs of alcohol-related crashes, the most significant loss is human lives.

An estimated 29 Americans die in motor vehicle crashes involving an impaired driver every day. This translates to one death every 50 minutes.  Due to these alarming statistics, we are bringing you the Impaired Driving Dangers and Prevention.  Together, we can prevent traffic accidents.

Never forget that under Texas Law, Insurance Companies Must Cover ER Trips Involving Traffic Accidents.

Impaired driving does not necessarily mean drunk driving; it also involves distracted driving and drugged driving. In fact, drugs, both legal and illegal, are involved in about 16% of car crashes.

Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.

Dangers of Impaired Driving

Get to know about the impaired driving dangers to help prevent a tragedy.  Any amount of alcohol or drugs can significantly impact our ability to drive. Here are several ways in which drugs and alcohol can influence our driving capabilities:

Slow Reaction Time

When we are under the influence or otherwise distracted while driving, our reaction time decreases. A slower response time makes it harder to avoid obstacles such as pedestrians crossing a street and breaking on time to avoid crashing into another car.

Lack of Coordination

Drinking alcohol or taking drugs affects our motor skills, specifically our eye, hand, and foot coordination. These motor skills are vital when driving. Without these crucial coordination skills, we may not be able to avoid harmful situations.

Reduced Concentration

Driving requires concentration. Anything that causes us to become distracted while driving, including alcohol and drug consumption, can significantly increase our risk of being involved in a serious car crash.

Slow Reaction Time

When we are under the influence or otherwise distracted while driving, our reaction time decreases. A slower response time makes it harder to avoid obstacles such as pedestrians crossing a street and breaking on time to avoid crashing into another car.

Lack of Coordination

Drinking alcohol or taking drugs affects our motor skills, specifically our eye, hand, and foot coordination. These motor skills are vital when driving. Without these crucial coordination skills, we may not be able to avoid harmful situations.

Reduced Concentration

Driving requires concentration. Anything that causes us to become distracted while driving, including alcohol and drug consumption, can significantly increase our risk of being involved in a serious car crash.

Decreased Vision

Alcohol impairs our vision. After a few drinks, you may notice your vision becomes a little blurred. Impaired vision affects our ability to judge the distance between our car and other vehicles or obstacles on the road.

Most Common Impaired Driving Injuries

Thankfully, not all impaired driving-related accidents are fatal; however, they can still cause severe injuries, including:

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis. Recovery depends on many factors, such as the extent of the damage and how long it takes a patient to receive treatment. Unfortunately, for many patients, the outcome is permanent.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury is widespread among crash victims. Severe trauma to the brain can have devastating effects on a person. Traumatic brain injuries can cause changes in a person’s memory, their ability to reason, and their emotional behavior. Additionally, they can result in loss of vision, hearing, and taste,

Severe traumatic brain injuries can result in life-long disabilities.

Internal Injuries

The force of impact can cause internal injuries, including organ damage that can be life-threatening and require immediate emergency medical care.

Organs such as the lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen are the most common internal organs injured during a car crash.

Orthopedic Injuries

Broken bones are common injuries associated with impaired driving-related incidents. Injury severity varies; some patients will only require a cast while others may lose a limb.

Soft Tissue Injuries

The impact during a crash can cause damage to ligaments, tendons, and muscles. When the injury occurs in a victim’s neck, back, or shoulder, it can limit their ability to move and may result in long-term chronic pain.

Burns

Suppose the crash is severe enough to cause one or more of the vehicles to catch fire. In that case, victims may suffer severe burns that may result in permanent disfigurement and scarring. Burn victims also have an increased risk of infection while healing.

Prevention

The only way to prevent an impaired driving-related accident is not to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you plan to drink, make arrangements ahead of time. Either select a designated driver or choose to use a ride-sharing service instead of driving yourself.

Getting Prompt Medical Attention Can Help Save A Life

According to the CDC for every person killed in a road accident,

“8 were hospitalized, and 100 were treated and released from the Emergency Room.”

Anyone who is involved in a severe motor vehicle accident should be taken to the nearest Emergency Room for evaluation, given that some injuries can only be diagnosed with advanced imagining technology.

During a crash, victims might have suffered internal injuries or head trauma that if not treated promptly can lead to long-term disabilities or even death.

Some injuries are more time-sensitive than others, in these cases it is better to transfer the patient to a Free-Standing ER facility such as any of the Altus Emergency Centers where they can be treated by a licensed emergency physician right away, rather than transport them to a Hospital ER where their treatment might be delayed due to overcrowding issues.

It’s important to remember that insurance companies are obligated to offer emergency room coverage in their policies. If you are involved in a car accident and need to go to the emergency room, your insurance policy will cover your visit.

Altus Emergency Centers wishes everyone a Happy and Safe New Year. Stay home if you can, and please don’t drink and drive.

As always, we remain open during the New Year Celebration to help with any medical emergencies.

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Traffic Safety Awareness

Traffic Safety Awareness - Respect and Share the Road

Traffic safety: It’s the difference between life and death.

One of the biggest problems society faces today is coexisting, this problem goes beyond the work place, or family life, it also extends to our roads. Most injuries resulting from car accidents were completely preventable using proper traffic safety. Let’s learn to respect and share the road!
According to the World Health Organization

“About 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29 years.”

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Traffic-Safety-Tips-Altus-ER-Centers-Texas

Learning to share the road with cyclists, pedestrians, and other car drivers, is the first step in making our commutes safer and more enjoyable. Traffic safety is not a choice, it saves lives and it’s the law.

With the roads full of parents and children on their way to and from school, it’s particularly important to pay special attention to traffic safety. Altus Emergency Centers urges you to respect traffic signals and speed limits. We are all responsible for making our roads safer, with a little common sense a little courtesy and following the rules, we can all do our part in preventing accidents, whether you are driving a car or motorcycle, are out bicycling, walking, or running be aware of your surroundings and respect your fellow travelers.

TRAFFIC SAFETY TIPS

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Traffic Safety Tips for Pedestrians

  • Never Assume a Driver Has Seen You:  Be aware of cars turning into or getting out of driveways, or parking spaces. Stop, and make sure the driver has seen you before continuing. Also, when you are crossing a street or intersection, make eye contact with the drivers to be sure they have seen you.

  • Use the Sidewalks:  Sidewalks are roads for pedestrians, use them, they are there for your safety. If there are no sidewalks available, always walk facing traffic, and take extra precautions when walking around curves in the road, as visibility for motorist is limited and they may not see you.

  • Use Crosswalks:  If you need to cross a street or intersection, look for a crosswalk, if there none, keep in mind that as a pedestrian, you must yield to all other traffic when crossing, make sure you are crossing in a well-lit area with good visibility.

  • Be Alert:  These days it’s easy for us to become distracted by our mobile devices; these distractions are responsible many accidents. Keep your eyes on the road as you walk or run, if you are listening to music, make sure the volume allows you to still hear what is going on around you.

  • Make Yourself Visible:  This is especially important at night; if you plan to go for a walk, jog, or a run, at night make sure you wear light colored, reflective clothing.

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Traffic Safety Tips for Drivers

  • End Distracted Driving.  According to the CDC 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in distracted driving caused crashes. Distracted driving is when the conductor becomes distracted from driving. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 1 in 5 vehicle accidents is caused by driver distraction. Distractions can be: tending to children, eating, searching for something within the car, arguing, talking on the phone and texting. Fortunately, as of September 1st, 2017, texting and driving in Texas illegal.

  • Obey Speed Limits: We understand the need to be on time, and we even understand the thrill of fast driving, but speed limits are in place to safeguard all who travel on that road. Did you know that a pedestrian hit by a car going 40 mph has an 85% chance of being killed, while the risk at 20 mph is only 5%?

  • Expect and look for Pedestrians, Runners, Cyclists, and Motorcycles: Some roads prohibit pedestrians and cyclist but there is still a chance you will encounter one. Drive with the mindset that there might be others on the road, look out for them and respect their space.

  • Respect All Traffic Signals: Come to a complete stop when you encounter a stop sign or red light. Signal your turns and look both ways when changing lanes.

  • Respect Cyclists:  Cyclists cannot ride on sidewalks, they must do so on the road, this means they have the same responsibilities and rights as motorcar drivers. When passing a cyclist always give them at least 3 feet for safety, never honk as you approach them, as this may startle them and cause an accident. Before you open your door make sure there are no cyclists coming that can crash against your door.

  • Never Drive Under the Influence or When Overly Tired: Impaired driving is the leading cause of traffic accidents, if you have been drinking alcohol, have taken any drugs, prescription or otherwise, that can impair your driving, or are exhausted for any reason, do everyone a favor, and call a cab or opt for public transportation.

  • Be a Defensive Driver.  Remember that many drivers DO NOT practice proper traffic safety.  By staying alert to other drivers, you may avoid an accident.  Do not fall into road rage, this can only aggravate the problem.

  • Be Aware of Weather Dangers.  Make sure that your vehicle is rain-ready.  Keep in mind that during a rainstorm you could stand to lose two-thirds of your traction.  With this in mind, please driver slower, two-thirds slower could be a good rule to follow.   Appy the three-second rule during moments of poor visibility to allow yourself a safe stopping distance.

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Traffic Safety Tips for Cyclists

  • Follow the Rules of the Road:  As we mentioned before, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. So, respect traffic signals, come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights; keep as far right in your lane as you deem safe but avoid riding on the extreme right edge of the road.

  • Be Visible:  Wear bright colored clothes during the day, reflective gear at night, and always ride with lights at night.

  • Be Predictable:  Ride in a straight, predictable manner, avoid unnecessary swerving and sudden stops. Look ahead to spot drains, potholes, or debris on the road, this will give you time to go around them safely.

  • Signal Your Turns:  Use proper hand signals ahead of time to alert other drivers where you are going. Look, signal and look back again when you turn or change lanes.

  • Wear a Helmet:  Helmets only work if worn correctly, make sure your helmet is level and not tilted up, down or to the side. The chin strap should be snug and properly buckled.

COMMON TRAFFIC INJURIES

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Turning Your Back on Traffic Safety: The Possible Consequences

A vehicle is not only a means of transportation; it can also be a dangerous weapon. The following are the most common types of traffic injuries:

 

  • Head Injuries:  These can range from contusions, brain lacerations to hemorrhage. As the brain injury is the #1 cause for mortality in accidents, a CT Scan is recommended to get a real assessment of the degree of injury.

  • Spinal Cord Injuries:  These can range from mild to severe cases that may result in disability.

  • Neck Injuries ranging from mild to severe

  • Chest and Airway Injuries

  • Lower Back Injuries

  • Abdominal and Pelvic Injuries

  • Spinal Prolapsed, Slipped or Herniated Discs

  • Shoulder and Arm Injuries

  • Seatbelt Injuries, which can include damage to the shoulder, stomach, chest, ribs, neck, hips.

  • Bone Fractures of all Types

  • Damage to the Heart and Heart Attacks.

What Can Happen in an Accident?

Each time that you’re behind the wheel, you put your life and others’ in your own hands. In order to drive home the urgency of traffic safety, the following is a detailed account of the most common traffic injuries per accident:

  • Frontal Collisions: On frontal collisions fracture/dislocation of the ankles, knee or hip dislocations and femoral fractures. Depending on the severity, head, cervical and spine injuries are common as well.

  • Lateral Collisions:  Compressive pelvic injuries, pulmonary contusion, intra-abdominal solid organ injury and diaphragmatic rupture are common.

  • Rear Collisions:  Cervical spinal injuries are common.

  • Cyclists & Motorcyclists:  Head injuries and fractures of the lower extremities.

  • Pedestrians: Depending on the type of impact bumper, windscreen or ground, the following may occur: lower limb injuries, which can include everything ranging from gashes to fractures, torso, head and spinal injuries.

Source: WorldWideWounds

Let us make a pledge to learn to coexist on our roads, respecting traffic safety laws and our fellow travelers.

Spread the Knowledge to Help Save Lives

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Don’t Put Anyone at Risk! Practice Good Traffic Safety.

A traffic accident can range from minor to major injuries.  In many cases, the risk of a more serious injury to the brain or internal organs cannot be determined without having the correct medical equipment that will not be available at urgent care centers or clinics.  This is not the time to wait in line for hours or drive long distances to receive ER care.  Give yourself the best possibility to get well.  If you or someone you know are in a traffic accident visit your nearest Altus Emergency Center immediately.

At Altus Emergency Centers, we are strong advocates of education and prevention. Our expertly trained staff is available 24/7. We are here for you in the event of a medical emergency.

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