How to Treat Road Rash From a Motorcycle Crash

August 2, 2021

Motorcycle riders face unique hazards and challenges every day. One of those hazards is irresponsible and negligent drivers. Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcyclists are approximately 27 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than people who drive passenger cars.

If you or someone you know has experienced a motorcycle accident due to a negligent driver, you may have suffered a variety of different injuries, including road rash.

What is Road Rash?

Road rash is an abrasion injury or friction burn to the skin resulting from sliding along the rough surface of a gravel, asphalt, or concrete road. Cyclists, skateboarders, and runners also experience road rash. If you ever fell off your bike as a child and scraped your knee, that was a mild example. Falling off your motorcycle at highway speeds, however, can cause significantly more damage.

Some road-rash injuries are relatively minor and can be initially treated at home with a basic first-aid kit. Seeing a healthcare provider and following their advice for treatment options after suffering road rash is the best way to prevent infection and reduce pain.

In severe cases, you can suffer nerve damage, scarring, and disfigurement, which often require more extensive medical treatment, up to and including skin grafts.

How to Treat Minor Road Rash

First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water; you don’t want to introduce harmful bacteria to the wound. Clean the wound gently with water, dabbing with gauze or a cotton pad. Don’t scrub the wound, because you may cause more tissue damage and pain by doing so.

Do not treat the wound with topical antiseptics, such as hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. As road rash often involves high-speed collision with the ground, foreign debris can become embedded in your skin, such as dirt, glass, or rocks. Tweezers can help you extract these fragments.

Once you’ve cleaned the wound thoroughly, you can try applying an antibiotic ointment to protect against infection. Applying a medical dressing, such as a non-adhesive gauze pad, can help protect the wound from bacteria and impact damage, allowing it to heal properly. Secure the dressing in place using a roller bandage.

Change the dressing frequently to keep the bandage fresh — once or twice per day should be sufficient. If the bandage adheres to the wound, don’t peel it off quickly. This can reopen the wound, delaying the healing process. Instead, use a sterile saline solution to moisten the area. This allows you to remove the dressing slowly.

Monitor the wound regularly for signs of infection. These can include increased pain, redness, swelling, odor, pus, or drainage.

If you’re bleeding profusely, notice signs of infection, or if the underlying muscle tissue is visible, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Deep cuts and visible fat globules also indicate that you need sutures (stitches) and should go to the emergency room.

Remember, these tips are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your injuries following a motorcycle crash, speak to a medical professional.

How to Prevent Road Rash

To minimize your chances of suffering road rash, always wear proper safety equipment when riding your motorcycle. Leaving arms and legs exposed increases the risk of injury if you are involved in a crash. A motorcycle jacket, pants or chaps, gloves, and boots are all necessary. Ensure they are made from rugged material, such as nylon, leather, or Kevlar. Invest in a high-quality helmet to protect your head from impact.

The Prognosis

Minor road rash, with proper treatment, should heal in one or two weeks. Severe road rash can require skin grafts and other types of surgery. One of the lasting problems regarding road rash is scarring. Avoid scratching your injury as it’s healing or picking at scabbing to reduce the risk of scarring.

Once the wound heals, apply a moisturizer regularly and massage it into the newly formed skin. You may also want to avoid direct sunlight and cover the scar tissue with sunscreen. UV radiation can cause the pigmentation in scar tissue to become more noticeable. 

Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you or someone you know has experienced road rash resulting from a motorcycle crash caused by another driver, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation.

Our Louisiana motorcycle injury lawyers can help you recover the cost of expensive medical bills, lost wages from missed work, and pain and suffering while also ensuring that you’re provided with compassionate, experienced representation.

Unfortunately, there is a bias against motorcyclists in the legal system due to the reputation that motorcycles are driven too fast, mainly by young, reckless riders. As the official lawyers of the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign, our experienced legal team will fight for your rights and help you overcome this bias to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact our law firm for more information or to schedule your free consultation to discuss your legal options.