Are seatbelts more dangerous than helpful? A lot of people seem to think so.
Seatbelts are one of the most common safety features in vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts saved 15,000 lives in 2016 and would have saved 2,500 more if everyone had buckled up.
With statistics that support the importance of buckling up, why do some people still refuse to put on their seatbelts? These misconceptions might be the reason:
1. Seatbelts Will Trap You Inside a Car
This misconception might have stemmed from news stories (or Hollywood movie scenes) of people getting stuck to their seats during a car fire or while their cars are submerged in water. However, based on data from Autosafety.org regarding transport and drowning-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2007, the share of fatalities from car fires and car sinking appears to be about 1 percent only.
Car crashes are more likely to happen on land, so putting seatbelts on can keep you from hitting your head on the car’s dashboard or interiors. Slamming your head on a hard object inside the vehicle may result in a concussion, an injury that could affect you for years, according to auto accident lawyers in Salt Lake City.
2. Seatbelts Are Not Needed for Short Drives
Some people believe that a drive to the grocery store a few blocks away doesn’t merit wearing a seatbelt. This misconception is dangerous because data shows that most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home.
3. You Don’t Need Seatbelts if Your Car Has Airbags
Airbags are installed for the protection of the driver and passenger who are correctly positioned during a collision (meaning, they are sitting upright). If you’re not wearing your seatbelt, chances are you’d slide down from your seat during the impact or get ejected through the windshield, in which case, the airbags won’t be of much help.
4. Seatbelts Will Hurt You in a Crash
When properly worn, seatbelts rarely cause injuries. During the rare times that they do, these are most likely minor bruises due to pressure. Without wearing a seatbelt, you could be thrown out the windshield or crack your head in the car’s interiors, resulting in more severe injuries than those caused by seatbelt pressure.
So going back to the question, “Are seatbelts more dangerous than helpful?” The answer is no. Manufacturers equip vehicles with seatbelts for a reason. Always use them to reduce your risk of death or severe injury if you get involved in a crash.