Among the many safety features available in modern automobiles, none are as important in saving lives than seat belts. Unfortunately, and despite mandatory restraint laws in virtually every U.S. state, millions of American drivers and passengers fail to use them when they go out on the road, and often pay with their lives or with long periods of disability. Here are some good reasons to use seat belts:

Keeping You Inside the Vehicle

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that drivers and passengers who are thrown out of a vehicle in a crash are four times more likely to be killed. Even in rare cases of fires or vehicles going into water, seat belts can reduce the likelihood of serious injury and thus enhance your ability to escape.

Restraining Your Body Where it Counts

Worn properly, seat belts restrain your hips and shoulders, which are among the most durable parts of your body. However, it is important for the lap belt to fit snugly over the hips and for the shoulder strap to squarely across your chest and shoulders for both to be effective.

Distributing Crash Forces

An automobile that runs into a fixed object or even another vehicle will come to such a rapid halt that it can endanger its occupants. Working together, lap belts and shoulder straps literally “spread out” these impact forces, which can prevent injury in any one area.

Slowing the Impact

Modern safety belts are designed to reduce the rate by which the body comes to a stop in a high-speed crash. The slower these forces are, the greater chance the occupants will escape potentially serious internal injuries.

Protecting the Most Vital Areas

Seat belts can prevent your head from striking something inside the vehicle, thus reducing the possibility of serious or even deadly brain trauma. Additionally, shoulder straps can prevent your body from flailing about in a crash and thus reduce the chance of spinal injuries that can have serious and long-term consequences.

The Raw Figures

More than 20,000 drivers and passengers lost their lives U.S. traffic accidents in 2014 alone. Nearly 60 percent of the victims aged 13 to 45 were not properly restrained at the time of the accident. Such raw figures illustrate how seat belts save lives and prevent injuries, and also serve as the best reason why every motorist should use them.

 

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