Wearing your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle is one of the more effective ways to reach your destination safely. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes 47% of those killed in traffic accidents in 2019 were not using seat belts.
While your seat belt may save your life, it may also contribute to potentially life-threatening injuries during a crash.
What is seat belt syndrome?
Seat belt syndrome is the collective name doctors use to describe restraint-associated injuries. These injuries may include bruising, internal bleeding, organ damage and broken bones. Typically, those suffering from seat belt syndrome have a belt-shaped bruise across their torsos, although you may have seat belt syndrome without any outward signs.
How can you avoid seat belt syndrome?
If you are in a serious car accident, you are likely to have an increased risk of developing seat belt syndrome. Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize your chances of suffering a catastrophic belt-related injury in a collision. These include the following:
- Wear your seat belt properly
- Avoid distracted driving
- Follow the rules of the road
When should you see a doctor?
After a major car accident, it is often normal to experience some bruising. Regrettably, though, you may not be able to tell the difference between a minor bruise and a catastrophic injury. Therefore, following any car accident, it is advisable to go to the emergency room for a full medical evaluation.
Even if you receive a clean bill of health at the ER, you should closely monitor yourself during your recovery. Ultimately, if something concerns you, you should probably bring it to the attention of your doctor.