May - Buckle Up for Safety!
Buckle Up for Safety!
SEATBELTS: Why You Should Use Them
Being thrown from a moving vehicle is the number one cause of death in car crashes. Safety belts are designed to keep you inside a vehicle, where there's room to live.
Staying inside is your best bet for a chance of survival.
40,000 people die each year in car accidents. This is also the leading cause of death in persons under the age of 35 years. Looking at these statistics and still not being conscience of wearing your seatbelt should make you ask yourself, why?
Hypothetically, consider yourself moving as fast as possible and hitting a dead wall. You will receive some damage to yourself. The same principle applies if you're in a car and you hit a stationary or slow moving object at 15 mph. The car stops almost immediately, but you will keep moving at whatever speed you were moving at impact. The object you will hit could be the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield, maybe a part of all three. I've seen evidence of this and the results. Imagine moving at a rate of 30 mph or more and the results are 4 or 5 times greater. Statistics say that this impact is similar to a dead fall from a three story building. PROPERLY WORN SEATBELTS CAN KEEP THE 2ND COLLISION (the Human Collision) FROM HAPPENING. Properly worn means that both straps fitting the body snugly will help to transfer the impact to the body parts that can handle it-hipbones and shoulder bones. Obviously, with a shoulder strap only, you might slide under , and with a lap belt only, it lends no protection for your upper body and your head and neck.
REASONS FOR NOT WEARING THE SEATBELT
- "Only going to the shopping center"- 80% of traffic fatalities happen within 25 miles of the home and at speeds under 40 mph.
- No accident for me, I'm a good driver- A good driving record will help you avoid accidents, but a bad driver can still hit you.
- "I can brace myself."- If you had time to do this, the force of the impact would still shatter an arm or leg.
- "I'm afraid the belt will trap me in the car." - Statistics show that your safer inside the car. If you were thrown out, you are 25 times more likely to die. Also in the minute percentage of times, such as a fire or submerging in water, you can get out of the car much faster if you haven't been knocked unconscious inside the car.
- "They're uncomfortable." - Modern seatbelts are made now so comfortable that you hardly know you have them on or if they even work. Belts now are made with a device that allows you to move around, but will lock up for protection at impact. You can get a little slack in the belt by pulling on the shoulder strap. If the belt doesn't fit, belt extenders are available through most car dealerships.
- "I don't need a belt, I've got an airbag." - You're one of the lucky ones. An airbag increases the effectiveness of a belt by 40%. The airbags were not designed to use in place of safety belts, they don't protect you from side impacts.
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.