Safe Bet: Seat Belts Improve Your Odds
What Happens to Your Body in a Collision?
- The vehicle strikes another object, such as a tree or car.
- The "human impact" occurs. Unbelted occupants slam into the vehicle's interior—the steering wheel, windshield, roof—or into other occupants.
- The final impact takes place within your body as the internal organs smash against other body parts—the heart hitting the sternum, the brain hitting the skull, the lungs hitting the ribs.
- Hold you securely, taking advantage of the vehicle's own protective crushing effect as it absorbs energy in the first impact.
- Distribute the force of the human impact across the strong parts of the body. Your body hits the belt rather than the steering wheel, windshield, or other hard parts of the interior.
- Prevent occupants from colliding with each other.
- Help the driver maintain control, decreasing the possibility of an additional collision.
- Prevent occupants from being ejected.
What About Air Bags?
What Is Your Excuse?
|Reasons for Not Wearing a Seat Belt||Realities|
|I am just going to the store.||Most deadly crashes take place close to home.|
|I am a good driver.||You may not be the cause of an accident. The accident may be caused by another driver. Also, unbelted drivers have less chance to control the vehicle after the impact.|
|I am not in the habit of wearing them.||You are a role model for others. For example, children are less likely to be buckled up if adults are not.|
|It is my personal preference.||During a crash, unbelted occupants can injure other people in the car. Also, unbuckled crash victims have a ripple effect on everyone in terms of high healthcare costs, taxes, and health insurance.|
|I am afraid of being trapped in a fire or under water.||The vast majority of fatalities result from the force of impact, not from being trapped.|
Advice From a Racecar Driver
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov
Network of Employers for Traffic Safety http://www.trafficsafety.org/index2.asp
Alberta Motor Association http://ama.ab.ca
Canada Safety Council http://www.safety-council.org
Motor vehicle safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/. Updated October 3, 2012. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Seat belt laws. Governors Highway Safety Association website. Available at: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/seatbelt%5Flaws.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Seat belt safety. Arizona Department of Public Safety website. Available at: http://www.azdps.gov/information/Seat%5FBelts/. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Seat belts and airbags, helpful safety aids. Safe Ride.org website. Available at: http://www.saferide.org/seat%5Fbelts%5Fairbags.html. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Seat belts fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/facts.html. Updated January 4, 2011. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Seat belts: your single most effective safety step. National Safety Council website. Available at: http://www.nsc.org/safety%5Froad/DriverSafety/Pages/SeatBelts.aspx. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/25/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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