The Things In Between

I was struck by this random footnote in Mary Roach’s delightful new book, Packing for Mars.

“The April 1995 issue of the Journal of Trauma includes a case report of a man whose pipe was between his BMW’s airbag and his face when the bag deployed. A piece of the stem shot into his eye, resulting in a “ruptured globe.” The author, a Swiss physician, has a keen globe for detail, noting that “there was tobacco all over the floor” and that the injury was similar to those seen “after the thrust of a pointed cow horn.” The paper concludes with an exhortation to “behave appropriately” — no “drinking from cups … holding articles on the lap, or wearing spectacles while driving.” Not to thrust too pointed a cow horn, but wearing one’s eyeglasses while driving surely prevents more injuries than it causes.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 at 7:03 am and is filed under Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “The Things In Between”

  1. Josh R Says:

    Ouch, that’s got to suck.

    The article’s admonishments remind me of a story told by a friend about a crash he was sort of involved in. He was being followed somewhat closely by a guy in a BMW who was reading the paper with one hand, and steering with the two fingers of his other hand that were not holding his coffee cup. (always a good plan.) Something happened up the traffic stream that cause my friend to have to brake pretty quickly, and he glanced in his rearview just in time to see the guy in the BMW panic and somehow splash his coffee all over the windshield as he tried to drop it and the paper. The coffee blocked his view for a few seconds, apparently causing more panic, which cause him to drive off the road into the ditch.

    A minor “Oh shit” moment transformed into a crash because the driver was trying to do everything with his hands but drive.

  2. spiderleggreen Says:

    The cure is worse than the disease.

  3. Colorado Kid Says:

    When the airbags in Dad’s ’95 Fleetwood deployed they removed the spectacles neatly from his face, depositing them on the shelf below the rear window. They probably saved his eyes from abrasion by the bag, as the balance of his face seemed to have been lightly sanded by the bag. I’ll continue to wear my sunglasses in the daytime and my bifocals at night when I drive.

  4. Theophylact Says:

    I would have to call the journal article’s author myopic.

  5. Pete Says:

    Without my glasses I’d be lucky to find the steering wheel, OK a slight exaggeration but I wouldn’t be fit to drive.

    I can no longer wear contact lenses either so that option is not open to me.

    This has go me wondering now just how much damage an airbag hitting my face + glasses could actually do.

  6. spiderleggreen Says:

    Here’s what air bags are good for:

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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