For many drivers or passengers, putting on your seat belt before driving is either second nature or you make sure it’s the first thing you do when getting in the car. However, for some people, seat belts aren’t necessary because of any sort of excuse like “I’m just driving down the street, or “I’m a good driver.” In the Bay Area, this is a busy place to be driving around just about anywhere you go. Distracted drivers, angry commuters, people in a hurry, and so on, can all increase your chances of getting in a collision. If you’re in the San Francisco area, then you know how congested this place can be around commute hours, or pretty much in general within the city during the day. Everyone is trying to get to his or her destination, and many of them are trying to get there as fast as possible. Let’s just be honest, California is a fast-paced place to live. They didn’t nickname rolling through a stop sign the “California stop” for no reason. The point is, being a good driver may help you avoid accidents, but a bad driver could still run into you.
The average car weighs around 3500-4000 pounds. Now imagine the force of something that weights that much, slamming into you at 30mph, 50mph, or even 80mph! Sounds pretty scary right? Car crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 5 and 34. Furthermore, teenagers tend to buckle up much less often than adults. According to a study, in 2009, 56% of people 16 to 20 years old involved in a fatal crash were not wearing their seat belt. If you are a parent of a teenager, talk to them about the importance of wearing a seat belt.
Here are a few key points about seat belts:
- A seat belt keeps you from being ejected through the windshield or slamming into the dashboard in the event of an abrupt stop.
- If the belt is worn correctly, most of the stopping force will apply to the rib cage and pelvis, which are sturdier parts of the body, keeping you in your seat.
- The webbing of the belt is made of a flexible material that is able to stretch a bit to absorb a small amount of the impact.
- The action of the car or belt triggers a seat belt retractor mechanism, which will lock the belt in place in the event of a rapid movement.
- Seat belts are designed to work in conjunction with air bag systems. Even though your car has an airbag, this doesn’t mean it’s safe to not wear your seat belt.
- When driving over the speed limit, a seat belt can cause more harm than good. Always obey speed limits and drive at the safest possible speed depending on the current conditions.
Peninsula Auto Body recommends that you always wear your seat belt, no matter how far you’re driving. We see a lot of damaged cars come in and out of our shop, and unfortunately some of these damages can also lead to injuries. The fact is seat belts can and do save lives, yet people still choose not to wear them. Road and safety administrations even put out signs on the roads reminding drivers to “Click It or Ticket,” “Buckle Up, It’s the Law,” “Seat Belts Save Lives,” and so on. If you have a friend or family member that you see choosing not to wear a seat belt, talk to them about the importance of seat belt safety. You never know, that conversation might just save their life.