Seatbelts: Do you use them...you should!
You've seen the statistics, thousands of people die each year in car accidents. It's the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35. Safety belts can reduce death rate by 50% in these accidents. Why in the world would you not wear a safety belt now that you know these are the facts? Let's examine the mechanics and biomechanics involved in an auto accident.
Flying Lessons Anyone?
Examining myths about safety belt wearing or should we say not wearing them when you should.
If you have ever seen a horse riding competition, it might help clarify the mechanisms involved in an auto accident. Have you ever seen a horse and its rider approaching a hedge or fence to jump, traveling at 10 to 15 miles per hour, and suddenly the horse decides it is not going to jump and the horse stops dead in its tracks? What you see is that the rider gets instant "flying lessons"! Both the rider and the horse are traveling at 10 to 15 mph and suddenly the horse stops, but since the rider isn't wearing a safety belt.. the rider continues on at the same speed until the fence or ground stops the forward motion. In a car crash, what will stop you is the dashboard, windshield etc. A 30 mph crash is equal to falling three stories.
You've Heard All the Reasons For Not Strapping In.
"I'm worried about being trapped in the car." If you're not wearing a safety belt and you're thrown out of the car, you are 25 times more likely to die. If you're not strapped in, you are more likely to be severely injured making it more difficult to exit the car. In reality, it only takes a second or two to get unstrapped in case of an emergency.
"I can always just brace myself." Actually you don't have the power or bone strength to overcome the forces put on your body during a low to high speed accident..sorry.
"I don't need to belt in; I'm just going down the street." Unfortunately, most fatal accidents take place within 25 miles of home, 80% to be exact, and most take place under 40 mph.
"I'm a great driver: I'll never get in an accident." Even if you're a "great" driver, that doesn't stop a "bad" driver from plowing into you. Being a good driver is good, but not good enough.
"They're restrictive and uncomfortable." Safety belts today actually allow you to move freely and only lock when there is a sudden motion of the belt, like in a crash. If this is not the case with your car, then it is probably time to replace your retractable belts with new ones. See our 3 point Replacement Seat Belt Instructions! If your straps don't fit properly around you, then you can replace the belt that you have with one that extends further. Also, if yours doesn't fit around you, then possibly a seatbelt extension or seat belt extender is the answer. Seat Belt Extenders
"I've got an airbag - belt, who needs it?" The funny thing is, airbags increase the effectiveness of a safety belt, but are not very effective overall by themselves. Unlike safety belts, airbags don't protect against side impacts at all.
The Perfect Fit
It is very important that you have the "perfect fit," meaning that both the lap and shoulder straps fit snugly over the hip bones, collarbone and ribcage. These bones can absorb most of the force of the impact while protecting the rest of your body. If you use a lap belt only, your head can strike the steering wheel. A shoulder strap alone can catch your neck.