As we make it through the month of July, officials with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital says their ER sees an outstanding amount of vehicle-related injuries. Timothy Wise says, "I definitely drive safer now. I check both ways before I cross the street, I drive five miles below the speed limit." Lessons learned after Timothy Wise lost a close member of his family in a car accident just two short weeks ago. "Every time I get in the car and crank up, I view the roads differently now." A view that's changed his life, and broken some bad habits. "I would pick up my phone and looking down for five seconds isn't that bad, but now I keep my phone down and I check the time, but now I keep my eyes on the road," said Wise. Although that tragedy may have helped save his life, others aren't so lucky. James Black, Medical Director of the Emergency Department with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital says, "texting, playing with your radio, putting on makeup, talking on the telephone" are all reasons why doctors with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital say during the month of July their emergency center sees a higher volume of people with car-related injuries mainly due to people traveling on vacation. "Most of us have a tendency to plan our vacations in a very tight schedule and so lots of times we're traveling in a hurry," said Dr. Doug Patten, Chief Medical Officer with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. This results in passengers forgetting things like paying attention to the road, and most importantly not buckling up. Patten adds, "being tossed around inside a car or worse being thrown outside a car because you're not properly restrained is the greatest risk you can face." Injuries can also result in a learning experience. "Sometimes getting in an accident will get people to change their behavior. Once they become a patient with us, whether they had their seat belt on or not, you can't change that fact from that point in time but you can use that as an opportunity to educate and hopefully change behavior," said James Black.
Officials say as Summer continues, everyone needs buckle up and focus on the road to prevent more collisions.