Even if you wear your seat belt, you could absolutely suffer serious injuries in a car accident. While a seat belt is an important safety feature that can definitely reduce the severity of your injuries, a crash is still a very violent experience, and seat belts are not perfect.
For instance, experts point out that having any slack in the belt itself, or any space between your body and the belt, is enough of a gap to break bones during a crash. Your body builds up a lot of momentum, even through a very short distance, and then slams into the belt as the car dramatically slows down. The force of your bones hammering against the belt can cause fractures, bruising and lacerations.
This is why race car drivers use five-point belt systems that stay very snug during the entire race. They know that the odds of a crash at 200 miles per hour are high. In the event that it happens, they don’t want their bodies to move at all. They just want to move with the seat belts, limiting injuries and keeping them safe.
It’s also why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives clear directions on how to use the belt, including:
- Do not put the belt behind your arm.
- Eliminate any slack in the belt itself.
- Keep your feet on the floor and your back straight.
- Do not forget about the lap belt if your car has an automatic shoulder strap.
As you can see, even when you take proper safety precautions, you can still suffer serious injuries when another driver makes a mistake. If this happens to you, make sure you know if you have a right to compensation for your costs.