Maybe you’re just nipping five minutes round the corner. Or driving to your mate’s gaff – a journey you do every single week, so you know every bend and junction back to front. You don’t really need to wear a seat belt… do you?
Er, yes you do. Research proves that, in a crash, someone not wearing a seat belt is twice as likely to die than someone who’s belted up. Crashing at 30mph will throw you forward with a force 30 to 60 times your own body weight. The weight of a baby elephant, like a marble in a tin can. Even if you don’t want to crease your new top, make sure you wear the belt properly, with the diagonal strap over your shoulder and not under your arm. It will do more harm than good in that position if you crash.
Why bother with a belt?
- Without one, you can be thrown out of the car.
- It can stop your head and upper body smacking on the hard dashboard and steering wheel.
- It protects you from spine and brain injuries.
- Belts spread the crash force across your body – no single area cops all the force.
- In a crash, belts slow your body down more gradually so you don’t jerk.
- It works in conjunction with the airbags, if you don’t wear a seat belt, you will meet the airbag too soon and the force of the airbag could kill you.
- The airbag will go off anyway, at 200mph+ quicker than a blink of an eye.
Pay the penalty
Not wearing a seat belt will cost you a £60 fine on the spot. If you’re a passenger aged over 14, it’s your responsibility to wear a seat belt. If you ‘forget’, you could still be fined.