Atlanta bicycle and motorcycle accident victims are prone to a number of unique injuries. Chief among them is "road rash," a large, painful abrasion that occurs when skin is dragged across the rough surface of the road.
Many people think of road rash as a minor injury that will heal on its own over time. While this is certainly true in some cases, road rash can also lead to permanent injuries and very costly medical treatment.
The severity of a road rash injury depends on two main factors: the size and the depth of the abrasion. Large abrasions can sometimes result in disfigurement and permanent scarring. Deep abrasions can take a long time to heal and are especially susceptible to infection.
The size and depth of a road rash injury can often be traced to the force and the mechanics of a crash. Road rash happens when layers of skin are worn away by friction. The greater the friction, the deeper the abrasion is likely to be.
Preventing and Treating Road Rash
Bicyclists and motorcycle riders can help protect themselves against road rash by wearing appropriate protective clothing. Motorcyclists, especially, are encouraged to wear leathers or other protective clothing since the risk of injury is particularly acute in a high speed crash.
However, wearing protective clothing may not always be practical. For example, many long-distance bike riders must, out of necessity, limit themselves to shorts and a jersey.
Individuals who do experience road rash in an Atlanta bicycle accident or motorcycle crash can minimize the risk of scarring or complication by treating the injury appropriately. Minor abrasions should be flushed out with water and then washed with sodium chloride and covered with a semi-permeable bandage. It is important that all of the debris is removed from the wound before it is covered.
More serious injuries should be treated by a physician. See a doctor right away if it appears that the damage extends past the first layer of skin, if the wound does not stop bleeding after 15 minutes or if it appears that any of the cuts may require stitches.
Source: About.com, "How to Treat Skin Abrasions and Road Rash," Elizabeth Quinn, March 4, 2012.