Don’t Wreck Your Youth

No matter how many times we’ve seen or heard about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle without a seat belt, we all still seem to believe it “won’t happen to us.” And while the statistic of roughly 20,500 auto-related fatalities a year may reinforce that kind of thinking, it’s the more than 2 million auto-related injuries that should make you sit up and take notice. Why? Because serious injuries (and their recovery times) age our bodies in ways simple wear and tear and growing older don’t even begin to approach like they did in your youth.

For instance, serious injury to bones or muscles (as would happen with impact from an auto collision), weaken not only that bone or muscle, but also all other bones and muscles connected to it. If a leg is severely broken at the tibia (lower leg/calf bone), then the knee, ankle, femur and hip must all compensate for that bone in order to bear the body’s weight to stand. This additional strain wears out joints before their time. Muscles in that same leg must also work harder to compensate for the lack of strength in that bone... and that’s assuming the bone can be suitably repaired. In some cases, where pins, plates or screws must be used, the injured person loses mobility, and thereby ages other vital systems like the cardiovascular system through lack of use.

Organ damage (such as bruising, punctures, rupturing or lacerations of the spleen, kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines or liver), can require surgery just to stem bleeding and restore some level of function. In quite a few cases, function of organs never returns to 100% normal. Without the body able to effectively remove wastes, oxygenate and pump blood, and process food, toxins build up and cells begin to die more quickly. The aging process is sped up at an alarming rate. Nerve damage and chronic pain (also common in auto accidents), can cause lasting effects that leave the body feeling exhausted, emotionally drained, clinically depressed, and physically and psychologically “older” than it was prior to the original accident.

Give yourself some extra years on the road of life by buckling up, slowing down, and disconnecting from your cell while driving.