Why Wearing a Seatbelt Can Save Your Life

seatbelt prevents car accidents

Car accidents can be devastating. It’s not rare for multiple people to be left either dead, or with permanent injuries due to negligence. But what makes this situation even more unfortunate is that some of those injuries are preventable. It’s shocking how many people willingly ignore the safety features of their own cars. Saving a few seconds is never worth risking your life. Wearing a seatbelt is something you should never even question. It should be an automatic habit every time you get in a car, whether you’re driving or not.

Let’s have a look at the basic idea behind seatbelts, and some specific details that people don’t often think about with regards to their use.

What Are the Stats Saying?

It’s easy to understand how important seatbelts are by just looking at the stats around their use. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 people have survived car crashes thanks to wearing seatbelts. More than three quarters of those who get ejected from a vehicle in a crash die as a result. And when you’re not wearing a seatbelt, your chances of getting thrown out rise dramatically. Statistics indicate that you have a 30x increased chance to get thrown out of the car without a seatbelt. The forces that can be applied to your body when you get ejected in this manner are huge. That’s why a seatbelt is so crucial.

It’s not just about those who get thrown out of their cars either. Hitting your head in the windshield or the steering wheel can be severely damaging too. A seatbelt will also prevent various other kinds of sudden motions that can jeopardize your health.

How Seatbelts Work

A seatbelt has the basic job of keeping you in one place. This has several aspects to it. First, the seatbelt ensures that you don’t fly out of your car in a crash. Second, it prevents you from moving around inside the car itself. This is also important, because deformations from a crash can make the interior potentially hazardous.

It’s not as simple as it sounds though. Seatbelts have to be carefully designed, because otherwise they can actually harm you. Running the seatbelt through the wrong parts of the body is a good example of that. There’s a reason all seatbelts follow the same pattern. The areas of the body that they cover are strong enough to withstand the additional forces during a crash. That’s also why you should never modify your seatbelt in any way. For example, only attaching it halfway, because parts of it make you uncomfortable.

Seatbelts are also designed to spread the collision force as evenly as possible. Distributing it over your entire body as opposed to focusing it in a single point is crucial. That way you can endure much stronger forces before succumbing to any bodily harm. Distribution of forces with a seatbelt is not only locational but temporal too. This means that forces are not just evenly distributed across your body’s physical area. It also means that they are spread out over time. So instead of taking the full force of an impact in an instant, you receive it over several seconds.

Common Mistakes and Misconceptions

A common mistake regarding a seatbelt is to simply ignore its presence. This happens quite often with careless people taking their cars for short trips. Even if you’re literally driving around the corner to pick up milk, you can never skip wearing your seatbelt. As we said above, wearing it must become a habit that you don’t even think about. As soon as you enter your car, you snap that belt and forget about it.

Don’t go overboard, on the other hand. The market for car accessories is full of upgrades the average person doesn’t really need. Seatbelts fall in that category too. You can easily find advanced seatbelt designs with various claims of extra protection. And it’s true – there are models that are much more advanced than what you have in your car. But they often have specific uses and aren’t intended for the average person. For example, race car drivers need to use more advanced seatbelts due to the dynamics of their jobs. This isn’t just about safety – the wrong kind of seatbelt can actually be dangerous. It can take longer to put on and undo, which can make all the difference in a crash.

It’s a simple thing, but a very effective one nonetheless. Wearing your seatbelt is something you must never ignore. The same applies to other people riding along with you. Make sure to give them a gentle reminder to put on their seatbelts. Remind them that this isn’t just about their own safety, but yours too. Somebody flying out of their seat in a crash can be a danger to everyone else in the car. Take no risks, especially when it comes to something that literally takes a second.


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