You have heard it since you were a toddler: “Wear your seatbelt.” Whether you are going thousands of miles away or just a couple of minutes down the road, you need to buckle up. By simply strapping in, you can avoid catastrophic injuries and save your life. There are many benefits to buckling up and you can prevent a lifetime of regret by taking a split second to click your seatbelt into place.
To start, understanding some underlying numbers can really put into perspective the importance of wearing your seatbelt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), “[o]f the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts – a 4% increase from 2019.” Further, NTSHA states that “[s]eat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts, in 2017 alone.” As one can tell, seatbelts have a real impact on whether you survive when involved in a forceful motor vehicle collision.
With those statistics in mind, the reasons why wearing a seatbelt is crucial are so clear. Simply, seatbelts are an effective precaution against drivers who are aggressive, distracted and/or impaired. You can only control how you operate your motor vehicle, and not anybody else’s vehicle. As such, even the most prudent of drivers can be needlessly involved in a motor vehicle collision with another driver who is not driving in a proper and safe manner. Wearing your seatbelt can prevent you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle or even being thrust through the windshield/window after a violent impact.
Also, in addition to just wearing your seatbelt, you need to make sure your seatbelt is properly fastened. NHTSAprovides the following as guidelines to buckle up in a safe manner:
- The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.
- Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
- The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
- NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
Clearly, simply buckling the seatbelt is insufficient. In order to be safe, the seatbelt needs to be properly placed and securing your body. It is essential that you are appropriately buckled up to ensure the necessary safety in your motor vehicle.
Additionally, bear in mind that seatbelts and airbags work in tandem. Indeed, just because your vehicle is equipped with an airbag does not alleviate the need for a seatbelt. The airbag may be less effective in providing safety to you if you are not wearing a seatbelt and you may be in a more vulnerable position when your airbag deploys if you are not secured by your seatbelt.
Simply, there are countless more benefits of why you should buckle up every single time you get into a vehicle. By taking the quick step of buckling up, you take great strides in providing yourself safety in your vehicle. Moreover, it cannot be overlooked that every time you wear your seatbelt, you are being a positive role model for younger passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a great resource for more reasons as to why you need to wear your seatbelt. Buckle up and be safe!