Why Wearing A Seatbelt Can Save Your Life
Wearing a seatbelt is the law and for good reason. Driving a car is the most dangerous thing most people do every single day, and a seatbelt is sometimes the only thing standing between you and a fatal car accident. For example, this month, four young Jacksonville teens who weren’t wearing seatbelts lost their lives in a car crash, and a fifth young man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. It’s a very sad reminder that life is fragile, and taking simple safety precautions is something every person should make a priority.
The good news is that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports seatbelts have saved more than 255,000 lives. That’s a huge number, and reassuring in light of some of the stark statistics about vehicle accidents. A sobering 75% of passengers thrown from a car die, and unbelted riders are 30x more likely to be thrown. If you don’t wear a seatbelt and are thrown forward in a vehicle crash, you will move with a force of up t 60 times your own bodyweight. Car accidents can be deadly, so seatbelts are critically important for every driver and passenger on the road.
How does a seatbelt actually work?
Seatbelts use a 5-way protection method that prevents a variety of accident-related injuries.
- Keep you inside the car. Some people believe that it’s safer to be thrown from a car during a crash, but as indicated above, that belief is mistaken. Seatbelts reduce the chance you’ll be thrown from a vehicle in an accident, which increases your chance of survival.
- Restrain you at the strongest parts of the body. Your hips and shoulders are a sturdy part of your body that can best restrain you in an impact situation, so the seatbelt is designed to redistribute the impact where you’re strongest.
- Distribute the force of the collision. The lap and shoulder belts spread the force of a car crash over a wider surface on your body. This reduces the impact on any one particular area which could cause a broken bone or a puncture of a vital organ.
- Helps you slow down slower. The dramatic shift in speed that comes during a car crash can cause damage to your body. A seatbelt increases the time your body has to slow down in a crash, reducing impact generated from a sudden, full stop.
- Protects your brain and spinal cord. The two critical areas on your body, your spin and cranium, are particularly important to secure during an accident. The shoulder strap keeps your head and upper body from hitting your dashboard or steering wheel, protecting the brain and neck. Head injuries can be deadly, and they’re often difficult to spot and treat. Spinal cord injuries can leave you paralyzed, and your seatbelt increases the support to your back on impact.
If this all sounds very grim, the good news is that about 93% of adult front seat passengers and 94% of drivers wear seatbelts. Most drivers understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt, but remember to insist that your passengers and children buckle up before you hit the road. Stay safe, and happy driving!