There are some who say that seat belts cause more harm than good. The benefits of wearing a seat belt in case of a car accident have long been touted as being one of the most important precautionary steps you can take when getting behind the wheel. But is this true, or are the claims of the naysayers based on more than speculation?
We’ve sorted out the myths from the facts when it comes to figuring out if seat belts really work:
Myth: Drivers with air bag-equipped cars don’t need a seat belt.
Fact: In the event of a car accident, equipped cars deploy air bags to provide a cushion from frontal impact. However, if a driver does not have a seat belt, they can easily slide under the protection of the air bag, resulting in serious injury. Also, air bags will not help if your car is hit from the side or rear. Only a seat belt can shield you in all accident circumstances.
Myth: It is safer to be thrown clear in a crash.
Fact: In most accidents where a driver or passenger is thrown out of the car, the injuries are much worse than if they had buckled up. When a person is thrown clear of the car, they can crash through the windshield, hit pavement, or even be crushed by their own vehicle or another one—all in a matter of seconds. There is no such thing as being safely thrown from a vehicle. It is safer to remain securely fastened inside the protective metal frame of the car.
Myth: Seat belts can cause injury in an accident.
Fact: Although some surface bruising can occur because of wearing a seat belt in a car wreck, not buckling up can result in much more severe injuries or even a fatality. While it is true that the force of some accidents is so great that nothing—not even a safety belt—could prevent serious injury or death, in most crashes, wearing a seat belt does reduce injury.
Myth: I’m a good driver, so I won’t get involved in a wreck.
Fact: Whether you get into an accident or not typically has little to do with your driving ability. There is a major factor on the road that you have no control over whatsoever—other drivers. Last year alone, there were over 5,500 DUI arrests in Tennessee, and almost a million around the country. Even if you drive defensively, a driver coming way too fast around the next turn may not be.
Myth: I’m not going far or fast, so a seat belt isn’t necessary.
Fact: Most auto fatalities occur within 25 miles of the home and at speeds less than 40 mph. Everyday driving—to the grocery store, picking your kids up from school, running errands— poses the greatest danger to drivers and passengers.
As with anything else, there is a small, loud minority of naysayers who argue that seat belts aren’t effective at saving lives, but the facts show otherwise.
The moral of the story: buckle up. And if you are involved in a car crash, call Gilreath auto accident attorneys in Nashville to discuss your rights.