Wearing your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle is one of the more effective ways to cheat death in a collision. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, increased seat belt usage contributed to a nearly 6% decline in traffic fatalities in a recent 10-year period.
Even though your seat belt may save your life, you may also notice a belt-shaped bruise across your midsection or waist after a high-impact crash. Here are three reasons you should take this bruise seriously.
1. Broken ribs
A rib fracture is one of the more common car accident injuries, and anyone who has broken a rib knows just how painful the injury can be. If a sharp or jagged piece of broken rib makes its way to your heart, lungs or spleen, though, this common injury is likely to become a medical emergency.
2. Organ injuries
During a high-impact collision, your vehicle is apt to decelerate rapidly. This sudden change is speed may cause you to sustain heart, lung, kidney or other organ injuries. Likewise, when your body pushes against your seat belt, the pressure may cause damage to your bladder and intestines.
3. Internal bleeding
Even if you do not see blood, it is possible to bleed to death in the minutes or hours after a car accident. Internal bleeding happens when your heart, a vein or an artery sustains damage during a crash. Because internal bleeding usually does not go away on its own, you may need immediate surgery to save your life.
Ultimately, because you may simply not be able to identify internal bleeding or other catastrophic injuries without the help of a doctor, you should always go to the emergency room for an examination after a crash.