By: Texan
16 April 2005

Note: A very sad wreck I responded to as a paramedic was when the body of the un-seatbelted passenger killed the seat-belted driver of a car with her own body. The car was hit with such force on the driverís door that the passenger was thrown into the body of the driver, and the shoulder of the passenger broke most every rib in the driverís chest. The only injury the driver had was 9 broken ribs on her right side that were caused by the shoulder of the passenger. These were the injuries that killed her. Refusing to wear a seatbelt endangers more than your own life.

It does not matter if the car is moving or not or if you are driving, if you are in a car, the seatbelt should be worn.

Air bags are much more likely to decrease injuries in a wreck if the occupant is also properly seat-belted. There is some research that shows air bags are more dangerous if the seatbelt is not worn. Air bags were designed with the idea that the seatbelt would always be worn in the car.

Note: Do not let any person refuse to wear a seatbelt in your car or a car you are riding in. If it is your car do not start driving until you are sure everyone is seat belted. Do not rely on another person to drive you unless you first ask them their seat belt wearing habits.

Note: It may seem too time consuming now to put on the seatbelt before you put the car in drive, but after a wreck, and after getting all your teeth knocked out by the steering wheel, those few seconds lost will not seem too important anymore.

A note on car wrecks: The automobile, seatbelts and airbags are designed with a straight front-end or rear-end collision in mind. This means that the best protection a car gives is when this type of collision happens. This means that if you know a wreck will happen and you cannot prevent the wreck, it might be best to steer straight into the other car or obstacle. If your car is hit from the side or at an angle, there is a greater chance of injury than a head-on or rear-end collision.

A note on priority: I have seen news reports and responded to emergency scenes myself of drivers that stop in the middle of a busy highway to help an injured animal and end up dying themselves. These good Samaritans probably felt good trying to help the animal, but the family of these kind people probably had a different idea when they learned of their loved ones death to safe an injured animal. If you want to help another person or animal, make sure you are not in danger. A rule of thumb to use when stopping on a road or highway to help someone is to ask yourself if you would be acting in this manor if there was no emergency or if you were just stopping to pick up a $20 bill. Do not let your emotions of the moment cloud your common sense, anything that is not traveling at highway speed on a highway will get hit.

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