Seat belts are designed to hold the driver and passengers in their seats during a crash. That’s why they’re effective. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that they reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 45 percent.
One of the most common misconceptions about seat belts can cause injuries. Yes, if you’re not wearing a seatbelt and you get in a crash, you may be more likely to suffer injuries than a person wearing one. But the real issue is why you got in the crash in the first place. However, that’s a different conversation for another day.
Today, we’re going to debunk the most common misconceptions about seatbelts. Here’s what you need to know:
“Seatbelts Restrict Movement.”
No, seat belts help keep you in your seat. They secure you and your passengers. With seat belts, you can move freely in your seat, even in an accident.
“It’s Easier to Escape the Car Without a Seat Belt.”
Some people may believe that it’s easier to escape a vehicle that’s crashed without a seat belt. But that’s not the case. Without a seat belt in place, you may end up hitting the windshield or the side of the car, which can cause even more severe injuries. It’s much safer to stay in your seat while the airbags are deployed.
“It Will Hurt My Neck.”
People love to talk about how their necks hurt after a car crash. But no evidence wearing a seat belt causes neck pain. The NHTSA says that seat belts are safer for your neck than not wearing one at all.
“Only Old People Wear Seat Belts.”
That’s not true. Seat belts can keep everyone, from children to senior citizens, safe. In fact, in states that have child-safety seat laws, children have been shown to have a lower rate of injuries.
The bottom line about seat belts is that you should always wear them. It’s the safest way to ride in a moving vehicle.
“Seatbelts are More Dangerous in a Smaller Car.”
This misconception is a little complicated. Yes, cars with smaller frames are more likely to get a poor rating in safety tests. And, vehicles with smaller frames tend to have smaller seats and less room for seatbelts.
But, in general, smaller cars are safer than larger ones. There are exceptions to this rule, of course.
So, if you’re buying a small car, you need to make sure the car’s safety features are up to par. That way, if you get in a crash, you’re more likely to be protected.
“Seatbelts Can Trap You.”
This misconception seems more common among children who want to hang out of the car window while riding in the back seat. And, yes, you can probably hold on to the side of a moving car with a seat belt.
So, if you’re driving down the road at 55 miles an hour and you’re holding onto the side of the car, you’ll probably be fine. But, of course, you’re more likely to get in trouble, in general, if you’re not wearing a seatbelt.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it—the most common misconceptions about seatbelts and why they aren’t true. You should always wear your seat belt, no matter what. It’s the law, but it’s also the best way to keep yourself, your passengers, and your car safe.
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