Sun | Nov 27, 2022

The safe and beautiful benefits of seat belts

Published:Sunday | January 2, 2022 | 12:05 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor
Five people are now hospitalised following a two-vehicle collision along the Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine on Monday. Reports are that a Nissan AD Wagon tried to overtake another vehicle and collided with a tractor-trailer, resulting in a massive traffic
Five people are now hospitalised following a two-vehicle collision along the Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine on Monday. Reports are that a Nissan AD Wagon tried to overtake another vehicle and collided with a tractor-trailer, resulting in a massive traffic pile-up as firefighters cleared the roadway.
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Aside from its unquestionable benefits as a safety device, a seat belt can be a great help to driver stability. A seat belt tends to keep you in position, preventing you from slouching or sliding. The extreme forces that come to bear in a collision or a tailspin tend to rip you from your seat and send you flopping on to the pavement or around the inside of the motor car. A seat belt does a double duty by keeping the driver where he belongs both before and during the moment of impact.

“A seat belt will keep you in place, and it has been proven statistically that you have a much better chance of survival if you stay with the motor vehicle, even if it should flip,” says Kanute Haire, director of road safety in the Ministry of Transport. He continues to encourage motorists to use the seat belt as it will add to their competency, safety and comfort behind the wheel.

A real revelation comes to many drivers using a seat belt for the first time, when they discover how much easier it is to stay behind the wheel. It is an unconscious reaction, but every driver is exerting a fair amount of energy to maintain his or her position when he rounds a curve or corner. “For me it is an automatic action to wear my seat belt,” says Dr Dian McCallum, of the Humanities and Education Faculty of The University of the West Indies, Mona. “I have been wearing seat belts long before it has been passed into law,” she adds.

Pointers to remember if there are doubts driving through your mind:

1. A seat belt can save your life, as it protects you in a collision.

2. Your chances of surviving a collision are three to four times better if you are wearing both a seat belt and a shoulder strap.

3. They keep you from being thrown from the car in a collision. This lessens the chance of injuries. If you are held in place, any injury may also be less severe.

4. They slow your body down with your car. In other words, if you hit an object, your car stops but you keep going at the same speed you were driving.

5. Hitting the windshield or dashboard at 40 mph is like falling from the top of a large mango or ackee tree.

6. Seat belts keep you from sliding off the seat during sudden stops and turns.

7. Belts and straps keep you in position so you can control the car.

Simple tips on seat belt use

1. Know your seat belts, adjust them and know how to release them if you have to get out of the car quickly.

2. Do not use one seat belt for two persons.

3. Never wear the shoulder harness without also wearing the lap belt.

4. Ensure that the belt is snug over your hips. They should not be strapped over your stomach.