About 43,000 People die in fatal car accidents each year in the United States
The figures are staggering: up to 43,000 people die each year in car accidents, the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35.
Safety belts can prevent death in about half of these accidents. If you know this and are still not wearing a safety belt, you need to ask yourself why not. But first, let’s look at what happens when a car crashes.
The Human Collision
Imagine running as fast as you can – into a wall.
You would expect to get pretty banged up. Do you think you could stop yourself if the wall suddenly popped up when you were two feet away from it?
This is exactly the situation you face when the front of your car hits something at only 15 miles an hour.
The car stops in the first tenth of a second, but you keep on going at the same rate you were going in the car until something stops you – the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield – if you’re not wearing your safety belt. Bad enough at 15 miles an hour, but at 30 miles you would “hit the wall” four times as hard as you would at 15, and if you were traveling at a really high speed, you’d “hit the wall” with the same impact you’d feel if you fell from a three story building!
A properly worn safety belt keeps that second collision – the human collision – from happening.
Wear It Right
Wearing your seat belt correctly means with both straps snugly fitted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can absorb it: your hipbones and shoulder bones. With just the shoulder strap on, you can slide out from under it and be strangled, while the lap belt alone doesn’t keep your face from hitting the steering wheel.
Stop Making Excuses
Reasons we hear from people for not wearing one?
• “I’m only going to the shopping center.” Actually, this is the best time to wear a safety belt, since 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of home and at under 40 miles an hour.
• “I won’t be in an accident: I’m a good driver.” Your good driving record will certainly help you avoid accidents. But even if you’re a good driver, a bad driver might still hit you.
• “I’ll just brace myself.” Even if you had the split-second timing to do this, the force of the impact would shatter the arm or leg you used to brace yourself.
• “I’m afraid the belt will trap me in the car.” Statistically, the best place to be during an accident is in your car. If the person is thrown out of the car, he/she is twenty-five times more likely to die.
• “They’re uncomfortable.” Actually, modern safety belts can be made so comfortable that you might wonder if they really work. Most of them give when you move; a device locks them in place only when the car stops suddenly. You can put a little bit of slack in most belts simply by pulling on the shoulder strap. Others come with comfort clips, which hold the belt in a slightly slackened position. If the belt won’t fit around you, you can get a belt extender at most car dealerships.
• “I don’t need a belt – I’ve got an airbag.” Lucky you! An air bag increases the effectiveness of a safety belt by 40%. But air bags were never meant to be used in place of safety belts, since they don’t protect against side impacts at all. Car manufacturers created both for your safety, as both the seatbelts and airbags work best together. Airbags were never designed to replace seat belts. That is why an airbag is called a “’supplemental restraint.” When the airbag deploys, the seatbelt helps protect the occupant by providing body support and preventing occupant ejection. The airbag creates a cushion between the occupant and the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield or other surfaces. Airbags are designed to protect the head, neck, and chest.
Seat Belt Safety for Children
Children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat, properly restrained. If a child must ride in the passenger’s front seat, the NHTSA suggests that the seat be moved as far back from the airbag as possible.
The seat and shoulder belts should be secure about the child. If necessary, provide a booster seat to allow the belt to sit properly on the child. Never allow children to ride in the laps of other passengers!
By: Jason Mizrahi
Feel Free to contact Worldwide Auto Leasing at 732-534-4430 or at info@WorldwideAutoLeasing.com with any of your car safety questions or for a free quote on a new vehicle.Print This Post