One of the best ways to prevent an injury while riding in an automobile is to use a seatbelt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a seat belt properly can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. Seatbelts are estimated to save almost 13,000 lives in the United States each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than half of the people killed in car crashes were not restrained at the time of the crash.
When a motor vehicle comes to a sudden stop, the occupants of that vehicle come to a stop as well, but not always simultaneously. When the occupants are not wearing their seatbelts and the vehicle comes to a sudden stop, they can be thrown forward. This often results in either people hitting the windshield of the vehicle or being thrown from the car if the impact is forceful enough.
How does a seatbelt work? A seatbelt when worn properly will disperse the motor vehicle’s stopping force across a person’s chest and pelvis. Seatbelts are usually made from material that has a little elasticity, so the stopping action isn’t as severe. The main objective of the seat belt is to prevent a person from making sharp impact with the windshield, the dashboard, or other rigid areas in the vehicle. By dispersing the force across the body, this will help to reduce the amount of trauma that is inflicted.
Seatbelts are only helpful when they are worn. Even though it is mandatory to wear a seatbelt in most states, there are still people who don’t always wear one. Anyone who has ever been involved in a motor vehicle accident and who was wearing a seat belt at the time will tell you that it probably saved their life. Seat belts that went across the lap started appearing in cars in the early 1960’s and were supplemented by shoulder harnesses in the late 1960’s. At first people found them to be very uncomfortable to wear but as time passed, car manufacturers were able to design the modern three point belt that is easier to use and more comfortable to wear.
Everyone should buckle up, seatbelts save lives.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.