Seat Belt Myths
We all know at least one person who refuses to use seat belts. I know two! Their usual excuse is “It takes too much time” or “It’s uncomfortable.” Other common Seat Belt Myths include:
1. I do not want to be trapped in my car
2. It irritates the skin on my neck
3. It takes too long to buckle up
4. I have air bags and don’t need the belts
5. I am too big to wear one
6. I forgot to buckle up
7. I can’t wear it and feed the baby
… amongst others.
Let’s refute some of those myths:
1. This concern is often associated with fire- and water-related accidents, which account for less than half of 1% of all crashes. And still, it’s much better to buckle up, as seat bels can actually prevent you from being knocked unconscious, which can increase your chances of escaping during an accident.
2. Seat belts have become mandatory feature in cars in the 1960’s, and since then car manufacturers have come a long way in making the seat belts comfortable. Technological advancements like polyester webbing and pretensioners, which eliminate slack in the event of a crash, have made seat belts more comfortable for the wearer. If you want to customize your fit, you can find clips and extenders at your local dealer or auto parts store.
3. It actually takes about three seconds to strap on your seat belt. That’s less time than it takes to tie your shoe. Even if you’re buckling up 20 times a day, that’s only one minute of your day.
4. Air bags are designed to protect a buckled passenger, not an unbuckled one. Seat belts secure you in the proper position to benefit from an air bag deployment. If you’re not wearing your seat belt, you’re in danger of sliding underneath the air bag, colliding with the dashboard or windshield, or being ejected from the front seat. Air bags are a supplemental form of protection and most are designed to deploy in moderate-to-severe frontal crashes, which doesn’t cover all situations. Using air bags in conjunction with seat belts is your best bet.
5. Ask your dealer if they have seat belt extensions or if they can help you find them online.
6. Leave a sticky note on your dashboard so you will remember
7. If you’re actually feeding your baby while driving, you’re endangering yourself AND the baby. That’s a big no-no and you will get in trouble for endangering minors.
Here’s what AAA says about seat belts:
“Each year about 33,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 4 and every age 11 through 27 in the U.S. With 45 to 60 percent effectiveness, seat belts are the single most effective means of reducing the risk of death in a crash and have saved nearly 300,000 lives since 1975 in the U.S. alone.”*
Here’s one more thought… Does a standard seat belt law infringe on a citizen’s personal rights?
The answer is NO! Here’s what AAA says about that: “No, actually it is an imposition on others’ rights when society is forced to pay more money for the health costs for people who are unrestrained. According to NHTSA, the average charge for an unbelted passenger vehicle to an inpatient facility as a result of a crash injury was over 55 percent greater than the average charge for those who were belted. Driving on the public roadways is a privilege. Therefore, enforcing the safety belt law in the same manner as other traffic laws does not infringe on a motorist’s liberty. When we share the public roadways and when we expect the assistance of police and other emergency responders, we should be able to have the expectation of each other that we have each taken that simplest and most effective precaution: buckling-up.”*
So how do the seat belts help?
They hold the driver in driver’s seat within the protective cocoon of the vehicle (same for passengers). Seatbelts prevent ejection in roll-over crashes.
Did you now that every crash involves three collisions?
- The vehicle with whatever it hits
- The occupant with the interior of the vehicle
- The occupant’s internal organs with each other
Also, remember, that seat belts work TOGETHER with air bags. Air bags are not meant to replace or be used instead of seatbelts.
Thank you for reading our blog and Drive SAFE! Let us know what other topics you’d like to read about in our blog. And if you want to significantly improve your driving, consider taking driving lessons with us, or signing up for our Defensive Driving class. We only charge $34.99 and you will learn a lot about being safe on the road.
*AAA quotes taken from AAA website.