February 03, 2021 By Gerard Jude Castillo

Safety 101: Why seatbelts, along with airbags, can save your life

While we now have a Seatbelt Law that requires motorists to wear their seatbelts lest they get fined, a lot of people still insist that they don’t need to wear these belts and even dread doing so.

Some of the reasons are that these things make them feel restrained or even “cramp their style”. Other will reason that it will crumple their clothing. And then there’s the one that argues that there’s already an airbag (or a slew of them in modern vehicles) and thus, they don’t need to buckle up.

Yet did you know that not wearing your seatbelt could spell the difference between life and death?

While it may make you feel restrained, that’s exactly the point of buckling up. The seatbelt will keep you in place and keep you from being hurled onto the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, or worse, being thrown out of the vehicle during a crash or rollover.

Those folks that think that seatbelts will ruffle their clothing may want to think about this: what would you rather have, crumpled clothes or a messed up face? While this may sound harsh, that’s the reality.

As for airbags and seatbelts, both are part of what’s known as a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). While airbags may look like a soft, cuddly pillow, the truth of the matter is that these “cushions” deploy at such a fast rate (about 40 milliseconds) and use gases to do so. This translates to the impact of a baseball hitting you at an equally quick pace. It would feel like you actually hit the dashboard or steering wheel instead of that “pillow”.

This is where seatbelts come into play. Using tech such as pretensioners and load limiters, these belts are designed to keep you in place and will prevent you from moving too quickly in the direction of the impending crash. Say for instance you encountered a frontal collision. The g forces will send your body hurtling forward at the speed your vehicle was traveling. If you are not wearing your safety belt, you and that deploying airbag would collide, injuring you just as severely or even worse than if it weren’t present.

Studies have shown that airbags in conjunction with wearing seatbelts have saved around 44,000 of lives from 1987 to 2015. So please, always wear your seatbelt while inside a moving vehicle. It cold save your life.

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