Installation Safety Office
Perhaps one of the most overlooked safety items on automobiles is the seat belt. Most people do not give seat belts a second thought, but they should check them to insure their families safety.
The sad fact is that yearly thousands of people still die in traffic crashes. When a vehicle is involved in a crash, passengers are still traveling at the vehicles original speed at the moment of impact.
Seat belts are your best protection in a crash. They are designed so that the forces in a crash are absorbed by the strongest area of your body — the bones of your hips, shoulders and chest. Top 4 Reasons To Wear Your Seat Belt
Seat belts can save your life in a crash.
Seat belts can reduce your risk of a serious injury in a crash.
Thousands of the people who die in car crashes each year might still be alive if they had been wearing their seat belts.
It’s easy. It only takes three seconds.
Seat belt inspection is a part of an annual requirement for ordinary family cars. In the racing world seat belts in race cars must be replaced every other racing season. This is an expensive rule but it keeps every driver safe.
Seat belts can rot, seams can deteriorate, and webbing can become cut or torn.
It only takes a few minutes to inspect your seat belts. Check for all of the conditions listed previously. Older vehicles should be closely checked due to age and wear.
To check the seat belt retractors, you must actually strap in and find a safe spot where you can do a quick stop.
So what’s the right way to wear your safety belt?
The lap belt or lap portion of the lap/shoulder belt should be adjusted so it is low and snug across the pelvis/lap area. NEVER ACROSS THE STOMACH.
The shoulder belt should cross the chest and collarbone and be snug. The belt should never cross the front of the face OR be placed behind your back.
Sit up straight. Slouching causes the lap belt to ride up. A belt worn too loosely could allow you to slide under it in a crash.
Check your lap belt several times during a trip, even a short one. Make sure it stays low and snug. In some lap/shoulder belt systems, a tug on the shoulder belt will tighten your lap belt.
Consider clothing. A heavy coat can make it difficult to wear your belt correctly. For very bulky coats, it’s best to take them off. To get the best possible fit when you wear your coat buckle up and then tuck any excess bulk towards your side. This will allow the lap belt to make proper close contact over the pelvic bones. A short jacket can easily be pulled out from under the belt.
Always buckle up, even if pregnant. Make sure the belt stays snug and well below your abdomen.
Safety Belts and Airbags
You still must buckle your seat belt even if you’re riding in a car with an air bag. Air bags can cause injuries or even death when people are too close at time of deployment. Everyone should sit at least 10 inches away from where the air bag is stored.
Young children who are riding in child safety seats or older children who are riding in booster seats should ride in the back seat, furthest away from an air bag. This is why children age 12 and under should always be properly buckled up in the back seat!
Secure your children safely. Children who have outgrown their regular car seats still may not be tall enough to safely wear a shoulder belt. It may cross their neck or face.
Front seat driver and passenger side air bags only work in frontal crashes, so if your car is hit on the side or rolls over, the air bag will not protect you – ONLY your seat belt, when worn properly, can do that!
Mistaken Beliefs About Seat Belts
Have you heard these stories before??
“Seat belts can trap you inside a car.”
It actually takes less than a second to take off a seat belt. This scare tactic often describes a car that caught fire or sank in deep water. A seat belt may keep you from being “knocked out.” Your chance to escape is better if you are conscious.
“Seat belts are good on long trips, but I don’t need them if I’m driving around town.”
Half of all traffic deaths happen within 25 miles of home. Don’t take chances with your life or the lives of your passengers. Buckle up every time you drive.
“Some people are thrown clear in a crash and walk away with hardly a scratch.”
Your chances of surviving an accident are five times as good if you stay inside the car. A seat belt can keep you from being thrown into the path of another car.
“I’m only going to the store. My little brother or sister doesn’t need a child’s car seat, anyway. It’s too much hassle.”
Car accidents are the No. 1 preventable cause of death for children. Buckle them up in an approved safety seat. It’s worth it, and the law requires that you do.
When you get into a car—before you do anything else—get in the habit of buckling up.
Tie a ribbon on your wiper knob as a reminder. Set a good example. In a few weeks it’ll feel strange to sit in a car not while wearing a seat belt. That’s how it should feel.