One of the most common injuries from a car accident is a broken or fractured sternum—whether you're a driver or passenger in the vehicle involved.
The sternum is the breastbone, which is the long and flat bone in the center of your chest that connects to the ribs, forming the rib cage. This protects your heart, lungs, and other major blood vessels.
The sternum can be fractured by blunt-force trauma, making those vital organs vulnerable to harm. When it comes to car crashes, this trauma can be caused by your chest striking the steering wheel or the force of the seat belt.
A broken sternum can make breathing painful since your rib cage moves each time you inhale, cough, laugh, or even move your arms. This will make performing common takes such as lifting objects or getting dressed quite difficult.
If you have been diagnosed with a fractured sternum, you should avoid driving your car until you are completely healed. Because you use your arms to steer the vehicle, constantly moving them while driving can lead to significant pain, which could become worse if you must make any quick movements to avoid unexpected road conditions.
The average recovery time for a broken sternum is around 10 weeks or so. The most common type of treatment is to rest and give time for the break to heal. For fractures that require surgery, the recovery time is longer.