As all good drivers might know, airbags are great lifesavers. But their effectiveness is halved if a driver is not wearing the seat belt. It is essential for the driver and his passengers, especially those in the front seat, to wear the seat belt as a matter of habit and routine. As soon as you sit in the car and turn the ignition key, put on the seat belt and ask your fellow passenger too to follow suit.
And remember that there are certain car brands in the market which have airbags installed in such a way that unless you are wearing the seat belt they will not release in case of an accident.
It is common knowledge that if you are not in the habit of wearing the seat belt and get involved in an accident, the impact would result in your [and your co-passenger in the front seat] hitting the wind screen and the steering wheel pressing into your chest, with grievous consequences.
If the force of the impact is heavy, the shattered windscreen can result in the glass shards piercing the driver’s head with fatal results. At the same time the twisted steering wheel would sink into the driver’s chest breaking ribs and puncturing the lungs.
So the message should be clear – that if you want to be safe on the road and do not want to be a news item in the following day’s paper, wear the seat belt without fail every time you set out to drive.
That brings us to certain don’ts even if you are wearing the seat belt.
- Never allow a child in the front seat even if he is wearing the seat belt because the seat belt must fit tight to hold you back whereas in the case of a child it will always remain lose since the front-seat belts are made to fit only adults.
- Do not carry a child in your lap while driving even if you are wearing the belt yourself. It is dangerous and unlawful. Not only does the child remain unprotected in such a scenario, it will also take the full impact of the airbag if case of a mishap and will be crushed.
- For the same reason, do not permit your passenger in the front seat to carry a child while wearing the seat belt.
- You must not sit too close to the dashboard while driving. Maintain a distance of around 10 to 12 inches between your chest and the dashboard for the airbag to give you protection in case of an accident.