This post will hopefully raise awareness as to how important it is to wear a motorcycle helmet when you are riding. The helmet is a vital piece of equipment and has saved many lives during motorcycle accidents. It is the only thing that stands between your head and the road or another vehicle while you are traveling at high speeds.
People use many excuses in order to avoid wearing helmets. They say it’s too hot outside, they only travel for a short distance, it messes up their hair, they are not beginners anymore, etc.
However, there are actually no valid arguments in favor of not wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Head injuries are extremely dangerous and may have dreadful long term effects. Here are a few common head injuries that can easily be prevented by wearing a good motorcycle helmet.
The face is a sensitive body area as there are many muscle tissues and blood vessels underneath the skin. Therefore, lacerations and scratches bleed a lot. During an accident without a full face helmet, you would get severe cuts all over your head.
Your ears would be damaged as cartilaginous tissue is relatively fragile when impacted at high speeds. As the eyes are not protected, you risk going blind when foreign objects such as shattered glass or metal shrapnel pierce through.
Contusions are a kind of hematoma, which is defined by any amount of blood collected outside of the blood vessels. Fortunately, this type of injury isn’t as serious as the name makes it sound. Contusions are commonly known as bruises.
Although you may think of bruises as being just discolored spots on the skin that are sore, they can actually occur on bones as well. Therefore wearing a motorcycle helmet does a great job in preventing bone contusions on your head.
Bone contusion symptoms include stiffness and swelling of the tissue, tenderness, and pain that lasts longer than a normal bruise. This injury is almost impossible to detect, even when using an X-Ray machine and it is usually diagnosed through an eliminatory process where the doctor first rules out any other possible injuries, such as fractures.
Without any intervention, a contusion will heal on its own anywhere from a few days to a few months later. During this period your doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to soothe your pain. You can also apply cold packs to the area to soothe the pain and simultaneously reduce the swelling. Apply them multiple times a day for 15 to 20 minutes.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
During a motorcycle accident, the rider may suffer one of three types of traumatic brain injuries: mild (concussion), moderate and severe.
A mild TBI, also known as a concussion, occurs when you suffer a head impact with another object or when anything else causes your brain to suddenly and violently move inside your skull.
The risk of this type of TBI is high when riding a motorcycle as the speeds involved may create impact forces far beyond what your skull alone is capable of absorbing. Concussions don’t threaten your life because they are mild as far as brain injuries go but cause symptoms that require you to visit the doctor in order be treated.
When a victim suffers a concussion, most of the times, he/she doesn’t lose consciousness. Therefore it’s important to recognize the other possible symptoms. The experienced symptoms include confusion, dizziness, blurred or double vision, headache, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in maintaining balance, decreased reaction time and memory problems.
It’s worth adding that the above-mentioned effects are not always immediate. The victim may experience these symptoms anytime from a few hours to even months later. While recovering, the victim may feel irritated, be more sensitive to light and noises or have difficulty concentrating.
A moderate TBI involves the loss of consciousness for a certain period of time ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. The signs of a moderate traumatic brain injury also include confusion, disorientation, and physical and cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, in some cases, these impairments prove to be permanent.
This leads to additional problems like depression and other mental issues. The risk of suicide also increases according to various studies. Therefore, it’s extremely important to seek not only physical help after such an event, but also get in touch with someone who can help with mental health care at the same time.
Severe traumatic brain injuries may leave the victim dependent on long term care. This means that the rider goes into a coma, and that may last indefinitely or even cause death.
Head injury treatment
Survivors of motorcycle accidents have to follow different treatments, depending on the severity of their injuries. Every rider involved in an accident must seek medical help. However, whereas minor TBI cases can be dealt just with some painkillers and plenty of rest, severe cases need much more attention from doctors and may involve surgery, or physical therapy.
These therapies can continue for long periods of time. Even after years of rehabilitation, the survivor may never fully recover or reach the same state of health he/she had before the accident.
These treatments are extremely expensive and require a great deal of effort from the victim’s family. Costs can reach into hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some serious cases may require even millions if the victim was young at the time of the accident and suffers from permanent side-effects.
According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 16 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury during an accident than people driving or occupying a car. The majority of these fatalities and caused disabilities are the result of head injuries. This highlights the importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding.
The best way to prevent and lower the chances of a traumatic brain injury happening to you is to respect the law and wear a helmet. Riders who are properly equipped with complete protection gear, starting with the helmet, have a greater chance of surviving and completely recovering from a motorcycle accident.
You simply can’t hold any arguments against the possible suffering and cost involved after a motorcycle accident in which the rider wasn’t properly equipped with a helmet.