Dealing with Road Rash After a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian injured in traffic accident
  • Author: Cassian Morton
  • Date: Jun 17, 2024
  • Category: Medical Services

As a pedestrian, being struck by a car is a frightening experience, often leaving a trail of physical and emotional wounds.  Among the potential injuries, road rash is a common consequence for pedestrians. While not life-threatening, road rash can be incredibly painful and requires proper treatment to prevent complications and scarring.

Road Rash abrasions can be life-changing for their victims. If you have been a pedestrian injured in a traffic accident, we are at your back. We understand the crucial role that medical care plays in your recovery journey, and we will do our best to help you.

In today´s blog post, we will dive into understanding and treating road rash after a pedestrian accident:

What is Road Rash?

Road rash occurs when a person's skin scrapes or slides against a rough surface, like pavement or asphalt. The severity of road rash can vary depending on the force of the impact, the type of surface, and the amount of exposed skin. Here's a breakdown of different types of road rash:


  • First-degree: Superficial abrasions affecting only the top layer of skin (epidermis). These appear as red, painful areas with minimal bleeding.
  • Second-degree: Deeper abrasions involving the epidermis and upper dermis (deeper layer of skin). These are more painful, bleed more, and may appear pink or blistered.
  • Third-degree: The most severe type, involving the entire dermis and potentially even underlying tissues. These are extremely painful, with significant bleeding and a possibility of exposed muscle or bone.

Symptoms of Road Rash

If you suspect you have road rash after a pedestrian accident, look for these symptoms:

  • Pain: The affected area will be painful, with the intensity increasing with the severity of the abrasion.
  • Bleeding: Depending on the type of road rash, there might be minor bleeding or more significant blood loss.
  • Skin Damage: In second-degree road rash, the skin will appear red, raw, and scraped. Blistering might occur.
  • Swelling: The affected area might be swollen and tender
  • Grit or Debris: Dirt, gravel, or other debris from the road surface might be embedded in the wound

Importance of Prompt Medical Attention

While some minor cases of road rash might seem manageable at first, seeking medical attention is crucial for several reasons:

  • Infection Prevention: Road rash can lead to infection. To minimize the risk, a doctor can clean the wound thoroughly, remove any debris, and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
  • Pain Management: Pain can be a significant issue with road rash. A doctor can provide pain medication to manage discomfort and facilitate healing.
  • Proper Evaluation: A doctor can assess the severity of the road rash and ensure that no underlying injuries, such as fractures, exist.
  • Wound Care Guidance: A doctor will provide specific instructions on cleaning, dressing, and caring for the wound to promote optimal healing and minimize scarring.

Treating Road Rash: Home Care

If your doctor determines your road rash is a first-degree or minor second-degree case, they might recommend at-home care with proper guidance. Here are some tips on what you can do:

  • Cleanse the Wound: Gently wash the affected area with warm water and mild soap. Avoid using harsh scrubbing or irritating antiseptics.
  • Debridement: Carefully remove any embedded dirt or debris with sterile tweezers.
  • Antibiotics: If prescribed by your doctor, apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  • Non-Stick Dressing: Use a non-stick dressing to cover the wound and prevent further contamination. Change the dressing regularly as directed by your doctor.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain.

Tetanus Shot: Ensure you are up-to-date on your tetanus vaccination, as this is crucial after any skin injury. These are general guidelines, and your doctor will be the one who better explains how to proceed with home care for these injuries.

What to Avoid

While treating road rash at home, avoid these practices:

  • Picking the Wound: This can worsen the injury and increase the risk of infection.
  • Using Alcohol or Harsh Antiseptics: These can irritate the wound and delay healing.
  • Applying Ointments with Petroleum Base: These can trap heat and moisture, hindering healing.
  • Exposing the Wound to Sunlight: Sun exposure can increase scarring. Use sunblock or cover the affected area when outdoors.

Preventing Infection

Preventing infection is vital during the healing process. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after cleaning the wound. Maintain a clean dressing and change it regularly. Remember to stay alert and watch for signs of Infection. Signs like increased redness, swelling, pus formation, or fever might indicate infection and require immediate medical attention.

When to See a Doctor

While most road rash heals well with proper care, there are situations where seeking medical attention is crucial:

  • Severe Pain: If the pain is unbearable and not manageable with over-the-counter medication, see a doctor.
  • Signs of Infection: Increased redness, swelling, pus formation, or fever might indicate infection and require antibiotics.
  • Third-Degree Road Rash: This more severe type of road rash involving deeper tissues or exposed bone necessitates immediate medical attention.
  • Large or Deep Wounds: For extensive or deep road rash, consult a doctor to ensure proper cleaning, debridement (removal of debris), and dressing to minimize scarring and infection risks.

Medical Care is crucial, and We are here

Road rash, while painful, is a common consequence of pedestrian accidents. With prompt medical attention, proper wound care, and a focus on preventing infection and minimizing scarring, most cases heal well.

Here at Injury Rely we understand that accidents can have a devastating impact on your life, physically and emotionally. That's why we stand as the voice of the injured, offering a helping hand to those who need it the most. Our goal is to be the bridge between personal injury victims and the certified professional medical care they need and deserve.






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