Protective driving techniques are not restricted to driving skill and perception. Sometimes protecting yourself on the road requires preparation for the worst. One of the most basic and most effective defensive driving techniques to keep yourself safe as a motorist or even a traveler is to ALWAYS use a seat belt. It is well proven that seat belts save lives, and drivers must do anything they can to increase their safety on the road.
Research has shown that vehicle passengers have a 40 percent better possibility of surviving a car crash if they are using a seat belt (this figure is dependent on the severity of the crash – some crashes are so sever that survival is impossible). In most accidents seat belts play a major role in reducing injuries. Each year around 20 percent of all car accident casualties were individuals not using a seat belt. Hundreds of other people are seriously injured or even disabled for life in car accidents where they were not wearing a seat belt.
Seat belts protect drivers and travelers in a variety of methods, such as:
1. Decreasing the time it takes a passenger to come to a complete stop upon impact.
2. Reducing a person’s contact or impact with the interior of the car.
3. Avoiding ejection from the vehicle.
If you are the driver, before your vehicle even begins to move you need to make certain of the following:
1. Your very own seat belt is properly fastened and adjusted to fit firmly.
2. Your travelers’ seat belts are appropriately fastened and fit firmly.
3. Children traveling in the vehicle are seated and strapped into the vehicle properly. If your child uses a car seat make sure the car seat is also properly installed. For purchasing and installation tips click here.
If you are a passenger, before the vehicle begins moving make sure you have:
1. Appropriately fasten your seat belt and adjust it to fit securely.
2. Encourage the driver and other passengers to buckle up.
Being pregnant should give a driver or passenger even more of a reason to fasten their seat belt. If you are involved in an accident, wearing a seat belt can safeguard both yourself and the unborn child. Here are some suggestions for conveniently and comfortably wearing a seat belt while pregnant.
1. Place the lap sash part of the seat belt under the child bulge, as low as possible. The lap part of the seat belt should sit over the upper thighs, not directly on top of the bulge.
2. It is possible to adjust the angle of the safety belt using a safety belt adjuster, located on the retractor.
3. Make certain the chest sash part of the belt is in front of you and in between your pectoral muscles.
Children should be restrained properly according to their size and weight. The child’s restraint needs to be installed appropriately in the vehicle. In certain vehicles it is possible to add an additional lap seat belt to accommodate a 4th small child in the back seat. However lap seat belts are not suggested on their own unless they are utilized in combination with a properly installed and fitted child harness. Prior to moving kids from a car seat into an adult seat belt, these conditions should be met:
1. The adult safety belt must fit correctly. The lap part is low over the hips (not the stomach) and the sash must not touch the child’s face or neck. Be sure to remove all slack from the seat belt as well before moving the vehicle.
2. Lap/sash seat belts provide much greater defense than lap belts. Where possible always put your child in a seating position with a lap/sash belt.
3. Kids riding in school buses should use a safety belt if one is readily available.
Seat belts are an essential part of automobile safety and should be kept in excellent condition. Vehicle owners should check the condition of their seat belts in their routine vehicle upkeep. Be sure to check for the following:
1. The safety belt themselves are not twisted, cut or frayed.
2. The buckles remain in excellent working order, engaging and locking effectively.
3. The retractors work effectively. The safety belt should slide out smoothly and be completely pulled back when not in use.
In lots of countries, such as Australia, every individual travelling in a car must wear a seat belt if one is available.
One of the easiest and most reliable protective driving strategies to protect yourself as a driver or a traveler is to ALWAYS use a seat belt. It is well known and studied that seat belts save lives. Using seat belts is plainly one of the most simple protective driving techniques a motorist or passenger can utilize.
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