Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seat Belt Safety Tips

Many people take for granted the importance of the seat belt. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has shown in studies that a person is 50% more likely to suffer serious injury or death during an accident if a safety belt isn't worn. The same study showed more than 18 billion dollars a year spent in medical costs for those who don't wear seat belts. Each year the auto industry increases the safety requirements for new cars, but wearing your safety belt can go a long way in keeping you safe. Here are a few tips that will keep you safe while driving.

1- Passengers

Always make passengers wear their safety belts. Even those on the backseat should have them on. Many newer cars have sensors that will alert you if a seat belt isn't being used in an occupied seat. Simply don't move the car until everyone has buckled up.

2- Wear them Correctly

A seat belt won't do much good if it's not being worn properly. Shoulder belts should be placed over your shoulder. If this is uncomfortable consider investing in an inexpensive shoulder belt cushion. These will keep you safe and protect your neck and shoulder from the belt rubbing. If you have lap belts only in the back seat of your car, make sure any passengers are wearing them correctly as well. Keeping them too loose will end up rendering them ineffective in the event of an accident.

3- Replace Damaged Belts

Most newer cars use a material for seat belts that won't fray or tear. Even so, seat belts aren't infallible. You may notice some fraying around the edges after time. These should be replaced. Fraying is a sign of weakness, and this belt shouldn't be trusted to hold up in the event of an accident.
You should also inspect the mechanism that holds the seat belt in place. If this doesn't snap the belt in completely, you should replace it.

4- Children

Be sure kids are wearing their belts correctly. It's safer to keep children in the backseat. Children younger than 8 should have a special restraint system designed for children. These typically look like pilots restraints, and cross over both shoulders and snap in near their legs. These are easy to install in any vehicle, and are used with a standard safety belt. Babies need to be placed in a rear facing child seat and never secured in up front.

5- Don't Double Up

It can be tempting to put 2 people in 1 belt, especially for backseat passengers. Don't do this. They are designed to restrain one person only.

6- Myths

Know what is true and what isn't. Many people think that pregnant women shouldn't wear seat belts, but the truth is they are effective and rarely, if ever, cause complications. It's also not safe to rely on an airbag to support you during an impact. In fact, an air bag could cause more injury when deployed if a seat belt isn't also being used.

No comments:

Post a Comment