Safety Spotlight: Better Tighten Your Belt
By: Good2GoPublished: February 15, 2019
In the same way a belt keeps your pants from falling down, a seat belt keeps your body from hurtling through the windshield. You’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you’re not wearing your seat belt. Rear-seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if they’re unbelted.
Seat belts have been standard equipment in passenger cars since 1968. Usage was low at first, but in the 1980’s states began to set mandatory seat belt laws. After New York passed the first seat belt law in 1984, observed belt use rose from 14 percent to 37 percent within two years. By the end of the 1990’s, it was above 70 percent.
In 2016, 23,714 drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016.
If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
Some people may ask, then what is the purpose of airbags? Can’t they save me? While airbags save lives, they work best in tandem with seat belts. in fact, the force of an air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled-up. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag
Set a good example and buckle up for every ride. Make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too. If children are below a certain weight and size, they are required to sit in an age-proper car seat. To know if they are ready for a regular seat belt, your child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back. Their feet should touch the floor when sitting back into the seat. The lap belt must fit taut but comfortable across the hips or upper thighs. The shoulder belt must fit across the shoulder and chest, not across the face or neck. If they cannot past this test, they must use their car seat until they have grown sufficiently.
Pregnant women don’t have to sit in a specialized car seat, but they should be just as careful, if not more so. The shoulder belt must be kept on your shoulder and across your chest (between your breasts), and keep the lap belt secured below your belly so that it fits across your hips. Never place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back. Never keep the belt over or on top of your belly.
Many teenagers may feel invincible, an office worker with a long commute might think he or she is a safe and amazing driver, or a woman in early stages of pregnancy could think she doesn’t need to protect her stomach. The reason does not matter. There is no excuse for not wear a seat belt. A short stop at an intersection or a sharp bend in the road can cause irreversible damage to your car, you, and any passengers. Car manufacturers can add all of the air bags they want, create faster brakes, situate sensors on the car to sense when something is too close; whether preventative or reactive, the best guard between a driver and a nasty hospital bill (or worse) is the average seat belt.
Buckling up is vital to survival in an accident, but they also work in tandem with other devices to protect you and your family from the worst. Accident insurance is a big part of this. Visit www.good2go.com to get a free, no-obligation quote for low-cost, minimum limits auto insurance that can keep you driving legal for less.