Your body is an idiot

Thanks to evolution, there are hormones in our bodies that will turn even the frailest weakling into a car-lifting superman.  In an emergency situation, adrenaline boosts your heart rate, slows digestive functions, and increases the amount of oxygen and glucose that get to your brain and muscles, making you capable of superhuman feats.

It also restricts your ability to feel pain.

While this would no doubt help you escape a charging rhino on a broken leg, or come from behind in a knife fight, it can cause problems if you happen to get hit by a car on your bike.

Just imagine the following scene: you’re lying on the street, some driver is yelling at you for being hit by his car, and you’re already late for work.  You scramble to your feet to inspect your bike, and it appears to be fine.  There isn’t any blood coming out of you, so that’s good.

You’ve been lucky—now all you want to do is escape this awkward interaction.  You’re a little shaken, but nothing hurts.  No need to involve the police or paramedics; you dust yourself off and ride away.

Cut to the next morning.  For some reason you can’t seem to move your left arm, and your ankle doesn’t bear weight like it used to.  A quick trip to the ER later, you discover that the crash did a lot more damage than you thought.

If only your pain hadn’t been masked by your stupid body’s emergency response, you might have been forced to call the police, and they would have gotten the driver’s info.  Thanks adrenaline.

Here’s the rule: If you made contact with a car, you need to call the cops.

I know that may seem like overkill, but you’re better safe than sorry.  If the police respond, you can at least be assured that the driver’s information will be recorded.  Then, if it turns out that you are seriously injured, you’ll know who’s responsible.  That helps me do my job—making sure their insurance company pays for your treatment.

You may not think this is a common problem, but I assure you, it is.  I once had a client refuse medical care and continue home after being right hooked, even when witnesses and the driver herself offered to call him an ambulance.

It turned out he had a broken wrist.  He had to undergo major surgery and months of physical therapy.  Luckily, he happens to have a photographic memory, and was able to recall the car’s license plate number for the police report the following day.

Unfortunately, adrenaline doesn’t do anything for your memory, and it can’t pay your hospital bills either. That’s why you should always get help at the scene, even if you feel fine.  Your stupid body will thank you later.



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