Use Seat Belts
One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Many Americans understand the seat belt’s lifesaving value – the national use rate was at 90.7% in 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that seat belts saved the lives of almost 15,000 people in 2017 and more than 69,000 lives during the five years from 2013 through 2017.
- Buckling up is your best defense to protect yourself from injury in a crash. Being buckled up helps keep you safe from being completely ejected from a vehicle.
- Airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal airbag. Such force could injure or even kill you.
- Insist that everyone in the vehicle, front seat, and back, buckles up. Don’t move the vehicle until they do.
Below are important guidelines on how to buckle up and the importance of seat belt fit.
How to buckle up:
- The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.
- Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
- The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
- NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
- Before you buy a new vehicle, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you.
- Ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters, which can help you get the best fit.
- If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain seat belt extenders.
If you drive an older vehicle with no seat belts or outdated lap belts, check with the manufacturer about how to retrofit your vehicle with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.