Use your lap belt or your lap and shoulder belts if your vehicle is equipped with them. Wear both the lap and shoulder belt even if the vehicle is equipped with air bags. If you wear only a lap belt when driving, your chances of living through an accident are twice as good as someone who doesn’t wear a lap belt. If you wear a lap and shoulder belt, your chances are three to four times better. Pregnant women should wear the lap belt as low as possible under the abdomen and the shoulder strap between the breasts and to the side of the abdomen’s bulge.
The safety belt must be in good working order and must be worn by you and any passenger who is age six or older and weighs over 60 lbs. while the car is moving. If not, you may be given a traffic ticket. Also, you will be given the ticket if your passenger is younger than 16.
WARNING: The use of seat belts reduces the chance of being thrown from your vehicle in case of an accident. If you don’t install and use a shoulder harness with the lap belt, serious or fatal injuries may happen in some crashes. Lap-only belts increase the chance of spinal column and abdominal injuriesespecially in children. Shoulder harnesses may be available for your vehicle, if it is not already equipped with them.
Myths About Seat Belts
About one person in three is injured or killed in a traffic accident. Safety belts can reduce injuries and deaths. Many studies and actual crash tests have proven this. Have you heard some of these stories about seat belts before?
- Safety belts can trap you inside a car. It actually takes less than a second to take off a safety belt. This scare tactic often describes a car that caught fire or sank in deep water. A safety belt may keep you from being knocked out. Your chance to escape is better if you are conscious.
- Safety belts are good on long trips, but I don’t need them if I’m driving around town. Half of all traffic deaths happen within 25 miles of home. Don’t take chances with your life or the lives of your passengers. Buckle up every time you drive.
- Some people are thrown clear in a crash and walk away with hardly a scratch. Your chances of surviving an accident are five times as good if you stay inside the car. A safety belt can keep you from being thrown into the path of another car.
- I’m only going to the store. My child doesn’t need a safety seat, anyway. It’s too much hassle. Car accidents are the No. 1 preventable cause of death for children. Buckle them up in an approved safety seat. It’s worth it, and the law requires that you do.
These pictures illustrate what can happen in an accident. Your car stops, but you keep on going at the same speed you were traveling until you hit the dashboard or windshield. At 30 mph this is like hitting the ground from the top of a three-story building.
If you were struck from the side, the impact could push you back and forth across the seat. Belts and straps keep you in a better position to control the car.
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