You’ve heard it a million times—always wear a seat belt.
It’s not just because seat belts can save your life (although that’s certainly true). Not wearing a seat belt is also illegal, could cause serious injuries, and severely limits how much your insurance will cover in an accident.
So let’s break down these four reasons to wear a seat belt in more detail:
1. It’s the law
There was a time when wearing a seatbelt was considered optional. In fact, the federal government didn’t even require cars to be manufactured with seat belts until 1968.
But now, every state in the US except New Hampshire has adopted some form of seat belt law. And societal views on wearing a seat belt have followed suit. Now, the percentage of Americans who wear seat belts is 90.7%.
So even if you’re not worried about getting hurt, you should at least wear a seatbelt to avoid getting ticketed. Getting pulled over by the police when you’re not buckled could lead to a fine of anywhere from $10 to $200, depending on the state.
3. It prevents injuries
That said, in the event of a car accident, seat belts are hands down the most effective way to prevent serious injuries. That’s because the lap belt and the shoulder belt distribute the impact of a crash onto the strongest parts of your body: your pelvis and your rib cage.
This also helps protect the more vulnerable parts of your body, like your spine and your head, from the brunt of the impact. But you have to wear the seat belt properly for it to work as designed.
That means keeping the shoulder belt away from your neck and not behind your back or under your arm. It also means wearing the lap belt across your hips and not your stomach.
3. It could save your life
Wearing a seat belt could also save your life. This has many reasons. For one, seat belts help you stay in your seat so you’re in a better position to take control of the car and mitigate the crash as best you can.
They also help your body keep the same speed as the car. So your body receives less impact from the crash and it’s less likely to get ejected from the vehicle.
All of this dramatically reduces the chance of you dying in a car crash. In fact, studies show that for drivers and front-seat and passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of injury by 50%.
4. It improves your insurance coverage
Lastly, many insurance companies will cover fewer injury costs if they find out you weren’t wearing a seat belt when the crash happened. And as a result, your uncovered medical bills could become a serious financial burden.
So if only to ensure you get the best insurance payout possible, always wear a seat belt. If you do get in an accident, you should also consider hiring a reputable auto accident lawyer to help you file your insurance claim and maximize your coverage.
If it isn’t already, wearing a seat belt should become second nature. It’s so easy and simple, there’s really no reason not to. It could save you a ticket, prevent serious injuries, increase your insurance coverage, and ultimately save your life!
So don’t become just another statistic about car crash fatalities. If anything, be one of the estimated 255,000 lives saved by seat belts since 1975. At the end of the day, nobody ever regrets wearing a seat belt. So buckle up!