Be Seatbelt Savvy

Published on: 19 March 2015

Many road users are not aware of the laws surrounding seatbelts. Seatbelt use is required by law in South Africa, not only by the driver and the passenger in the front seat, but backseat passengers too. Vehicle insurance claims have shown that there are an alarmingly high number of injuries caused to front-seat passengers due to being hit by unsecured passengers in the backseat. This means that everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up. Unsecured passengers can distract the driver, leading to an accident that will have a negative effect on your car insurance premium, and even worse – on your life and health.

Did you know that every year in South Africa, around 10 000 people die and 150 000 are gravely injured due to motor vehicle accidents? ¹ This number is terribly high and unfortunate in that it could be easily prevented. Be seatbelt savvy and help to prevent grievous injuries and fatalities – after all, your seatbelts are there for a reason!

Here are some tips on how to ensure that you make the most of the safety harnesses in your vehicle:

  • All passengers, including the driver, must wear their seatbelt correctly. This means that the shoulder harness going across the chest and the lap harness must be firmly secured over the tops of the thighs. Never, under any circumstances, place the shoulder harness behind your back thinking that it will be more comfortable. Comfort is not important here – your life is!
  • Always place children in a proper child seat or harness, until they weigh at least 15kg. Ensure that the harness is secured tightly into the seatbelt restraints, and that your children are secured into their car seat properly at all times. They may whine and complain about comfort, but it’s not worth it to put their life in danger – and eventually they will get used to it!
  • Adjust your seat and head restraint. Although many people know this as your ‘head rest,’ it is not actually there for resting your head. It is there to protect your neck in case of a collision and prevent whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries seen in motor collisions. You should make your head restraint sit comfortably and firmly against the back of your head.
  • Make sure that ALL passengers in your car are using their seatbelts. The force of a person flying through the car in an accident can cause grave injury to other passengers. The same goes for loose objects. All your groceries, bags and anything else should go into the boot to prevent them from becoming missiles in case of a collision.
  • Pregnant women should still buckle up! Contrary to popular belief, buckling up will not harm your unborn baby in the event of an accident, if worn correctly. Place your shoulder harness between your breasts and the lap one securely under the bottom of your stomach. Remember, your amniotic fluid is there to cushion your little one against any blows, so the resistance of a seatbelt in a collision is going to protect your baby more than being unsecured.

In addition to being seatbelt savvy, having the right car insurance, a safe, roadworthy car and the most alert and educated driving skills possible, you will be able to ensure that you are doing your best to avoid becoming another statistic. Contact MiWay today to learn more.

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