Wearing your seatbelt is the cheapest and most effective way to protect yourself from serious personal injury and death in a car accident. Wearing it is the law in all provinces in Canada. They are comfortable, convenient, and easy to use. Their use should NEVER be an option when you are in the car. You should require everyone in your car to be buckled up before starting to move. You are required to ensure minors are belted in, or in appropriate child safety seats.
Transport Canada statistics indicate that when you wear your seatbelt correctly you can reduce your chance of death in a collision by 47% and serious injury by 52%. Thankfully seatbelt use has reached almost 95% in Canada now. If you still aren’t wearing yours consider this.
Seat belts protect you in a number of ways. When you are in a car accident there are several forces that act upon you. First is the impact of the other object. The second is the rebound from that impact. The third impact is on your internal organs as they bounce around inside your body.
The seatbelt is designed to keep you in your seat, in an optimal position to allow all of the other safety features of the car to continue to protect you. The airbags, crumple zones, and cabin are all designed to protect you from serious injury. Some of the protection features can be lethal if you aren’t wearing your seatbelt (for example the airbag). Wearing your seatbelt ensures that your head and neck are somewhat protected by the headrest. The seatbelt itself absorbs a great deal of the force of impact, and distributes it along the strongest parts of your own body – your hips, chest and shoulders.
If you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, your body will continue to move forward at the same speed as the car was going until you hit something that stops you. This can be the steering and dashboard, the windshield and hood, other passengers, or the road.