Fairy Tales about Seatbelts

"I don't need a safety belt when I'm Traveling at low speeds or going on a short trip."

You can't believe every story flying around these days. The truth is that ALL driving can be dangerous. More than 80% of all accidents occur at speeds of less than 40 mph. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of vehicles have been recorded at as low as 12 mph. That's about the speed you would be driving in a parking lot.

Three out of four accidents causing death occur within 25 miles of home. Belt up before driving to your shopping center - just as you would for a long trip.

"When I have my lap belt fastened, I don't need my shoulder belt."

Don't be left with egg on your face - or worse. It is true that a lap belt will protect you from serious injury. but a shoulder belt provides important additional protection. During a crash, a shoulder belt keeps your head and chest from striking the steering wheel, dashboard, and windshield. A lap and shoulder belt offers you the best possible protection in the event of a crash.

"I might be saved if I'm thrown clear of the car in an accident."

The fact is that your chances of being killed are almost 25 times greater if you are thrown from the car. The forces in a collision can be great enough to fling you as much as 150 feet - about 15 car lengths.

Safety belts can keep you from:

  • plunging through the windshield
  • being thrown out the door and hurtled through the air
  • scraping along the ground
  • being crushed by your own car

In almost any collision, you are better off being held inside the car by safety belts.

"If I wear a safety belt, I might be trapped in a burning or submerged car!'

Less than one-half of one percent of all injury producing collisions involve fire or submersion. But if fire or submersion does occur, wearing a safety belt can save your life.

If you are involved in a crash without your safety belt, you might be stunned or knocked unconscious by striking the interior of the car. Then your chances of getting out of a burning or submerged car would be far less.

You are better off wearing a safety belt at all times in a car. With safety belts, you are more likely to be unhurt, alert and capable of escaping quickly.

"It takes too much time and trouble to fasten my safety belt."

Now there is a fairy tale that's an earful. In reality, fastening you safety belt may take some time and trouble - but not to much.

It all depends on:

  • how complex your belt is
  • how well you know how to use your belt
  • how difficult it is to find the belt ends

That much time and trouble you can live with - if you want to live.

"I'm uncomfortable and too confined when I wear a safety belt."

Belts are designed to allow you to reach necessary driving controls, and the newer shoulder belt retractors give you even more freedom. When reaching for things that will take you away from the steering wheel, it is safer to pull off the road or ask your passenger to help. Actually, you should not do anything while driving your vehicle that may put you and other motorists at risk at any time.

You will probably find that initial discomfort caused by safety belts soon goes away. Eventually, you may even feel MORE comfortable wearing safety belts.

Forget the fairy tales and BUCKLE UP!

The information on this page, in whole or in part, was developed by the University of Oklahoma Police Department (OUPD). They have generously allowed our department to use this information.