Bad roads cannot only be fatal but can also cause serious whiplash injuries, acute hypertension besides other chronic problems, feel PGI doctors.
Chandigarh Newsline in a series of stories has highlighted the condition of Chandigarh roads and how Rs 50.73 crore spent in two years has literally gone down the drain.
Dr Mandeep S Dhillon, head of Department of Orthopaedics at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, says, “The biggest impact of potholed roads is whiplash (neck) injuries. Like in case of a bad road, you are breaking and going, breaking and going, so there are minor whiplashes first and then the cumulative effect can turn into a chronic pain.”
He says, “Also, for example, if I have spondylitis, a potholed road can affect and cause severe pain. To a great extent, the spine is affected if one keeps driving on a bad road.”
Dr Dhillon adds that a driver is focused more on potholes than driving and that also leads to serious accidents.
Doctors maintain that constant jerks can lead to cervical spondylosis and disc prolapse. “When we travel on a potholed road, multiple jerks in a short span can lead to muscle spasm and can affect the intervertebal joints as well,” says a junior resident doctor at the Department of Orthopaedics.
Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, Additional Professor of Environment Health, School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, PGIMER, says that when brakes are applied suddenly due to potholes, the movement of the vehicle decreases and accordingly air pollution increases. “Continuous exposure to air pollution causes serious breathing problems,” he says.
Dr Khaiwal says that due to potholes as the traffic movement is slow, it makes non-auditory impact as well and causes stress and acute hypertension. “Bad roads lead to hypertension and stress as one is struggling to drive through jerks constantly. One does not get to know about this problem instantly but the impact is seen after a few months or years,” he adds.
Bad roads, Dr Khaiwal says, impact sensitive population badly. Sensitive population means those who are already suffering from medical problems. “Bad roads affect people who have a pacemaker in their heart. I would suggest that one should drive slowly on these roads so that the impact is less. Bumping your vehicle into a pothole is equivalent to an injury due to falling. It badly affects joints too,” he says.
‘Book engineers if hurt due to potholes’
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, states, “When there is an accident between two vehicles, the driver who has hit leading to injury or death of the other person is booked by the police. There should also be an FIR against the engineers and the contractor who constructed that potholed road.”
He adds, “Only then will these people carry out their duties well. Every road should have the details and phone numbers of contractor and engineer who made it. Responsibility in case of accidents due to bad roads should be fixed.”