As regional roads continue to lead the way in serious crash statistics, those who treat victims are reminding Riverina residents of the devastating impact a car accident can have both physically and emotionally.
According to the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), regional roads account for over 65 per cent of the national road toll and the rate of serious road-related injury on rural roads is nearly double that of metro areas.
The leading causes of these accidents are speed, fatigue and drink driving.
Shannon Pike is the coordinator of the Wagga Wagga Ambulatory Rehabilitation Service and has witnessed first-hand the "traumatic" impact that being in a serious accident can have on someone's life.
"We regularly have people referred to our service after a motor vehicle accident and often they have an injury that has affected them physically such as having to have a leg amputated," Mrs Pike said.
"But they can also have a brain injury that has impacted their ability to think, their memory and which makes it hard for them to manage their emotions."
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Mrs Pike said these emotional impacts can make it very difficult to maintain relationships with loved ones, adding an extra wave of stress to an already hard time.
She said these injuries can make what were once everyday tasks a huge challenge and that something as simple as returning to work can become a huge hurdle.
Mrs Pike said seeing someone struggle with these sudden changes to their life and relationships can be a devastating feeling.
"I think even as clinicians you never really get used to it because it is so individual and everybody has their own story," she said.
"We see people at a really challenging time of their life and it does affect us as well because often they may be a similar age or needing to return to activities that we take for granted."
September is the ARSF's Rural Road Safety Month and drivers across regional Australia are being urged to avoid speeding, drink driving, and driving while fatigued.
Mrs Pike said it was "crucial" for Riverina residents to drive as safe as possible every time they get behind the wheel.
"I think it's so crucial for people to drive as safe as possible because we do see the really significant and traumatic effects of sometimes accidents that could have been prevented," she said.
"If people can be safe in the first instance to not only protect themselves but also other people on the roads then it is crucial that they do that and avoid the really long and challenging journey that is often a consequence."
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