When drivers' bodies are torn apart in serious crashes on the ACT region's roads, Canberra Hospital trauma surgeon Dr Ailene Fitzgerald is among those tasked with putting them back together.
Hospital staff and emergency services crews are bracing themselves for the summer onslaught and urging motorists to take it slow as they prepare to hit the roads for the summer holidays.
Dr Fitzgerald, who is director of the hospital's Shock Trauma Service, said road crashes accounted for 50 per cent of the hospital's trauma patients and young people were over-represented among that group.
"We know over the holiday period we absolutely will see some road traffic accidents and often they're preventable, often they're caused by speed, alcohol, fatigue, texting or other distractions," she said.
Ten people have died on the territory's roads so far in 2015, which is already one more than last year's road toll.
Provisional drivers make up 20 per cent of all ACT drivers involved in fatal crashes and 15 per cent of drivers in crashes that caused injuries, despite only making up six per cent of licence holders.
Patients were rushed into emergency wards with life-threatening head and chest injuries, internal abdominal injuries and shattered and broken bones.
But in the weeks and months after the crash they were often plagued by ongoing mental health problems, chronic pain and disability.
Dr Fitzgerald said the impact on patients, families and the health system was significant.
"We talk about mortality, but it's often the younger age groups who have long-term disabilities so the amount of lost work years is huge."
While trauma staff were focused on treating patients in emergency situations, nobody went untouched by the tragic circumstances surrounding some critical crash patients.
She said families faced with the worst of news about a loved one tended to respond with overwhelming grief and, often, disbelief.
"I think if you've been involved in that situation you really think twice before getting behind the wheel."
Dr Fitzgerald said the majority of hospital resources were sucked up in the patient rehabilitation phase and motorists with a disability who needed long-term care.
"The cost to the individual, the family and the community at large is huge and often underestimated in trauma."
She said even a small increase in speed had a significant increased impact on the outcome of the accident and the injuries a patient suffered.
"An impact at speed can result in damage to every part of the body, from a severe head injury, to a crushed chest, to internal bleeding to a crushed pelvis."
Dr Fitzgerald pleaded with drivers, particularly young motorists, to be sensible on the roads during the silly season.
"Don't speed, don't drink and drive, have a plan and don't drive fatigued. Don't answer your phone, don't even look at your phone while you're driving."