It goes without saying that seat belts can save your life if you are involved in a road traffic accident. The purpose of a seat belt is to retain you in your seat and prevent you from crashing around into the interior, or even through the window of a car in the event of a road collision. They significantly reduce the risks of you being thrown from a vehicle in an accident and work alongside airbags and head restraints to reduce your risk of injury.
By law, you must wear a seat belt when travelling in a car, regardless if you are a driver or a front or back seat passenger. Children should always travel in an appropriate car seat for their age and size.
Wearing your seat belt correctly is vitally important to ensure it is working to its best ability. You should follow these points to ensure your seat belt fits correctly:
- Make sure the seat belt is as tight as it can be and is not slack in any places.
- Ensure the lap belt sits across your pelvic region. Do not sit this across your stomach.
- The diagonal strap should not rest against your neck and should be placed over your shoulder.
- The seat belt should not be trapped in anything and should move smoothly to ensure it fits correctly.
- When pulled sharply, the seat belt should lock into place, preventing you from moving.
You should also regularly check your seat belts for any damage or wear and tear. If your seat belts are not adequate for the job, your car can fail its MOT. You should look out for:
- Fraying around the edges of the seat belt or the belt looking fluffy.
- Splits in the fabric caused by a cut or tear.
- Any holes appearing in the fabric of the seat belt.
- Damage to the buckle, either on the socket or the buckle.
If a road traffic accident occurs, your seat belt will stretch with you and absorb some of the impact of the crash. This will reduce the injuries you sustain and keep you safer. If you have been involved in an accident, your seat belt will need to be replaced with a new one as the webbing will have stretched and will no longer be as effective as it should be.
Always wear your seatbelt
Around 10% of people in the UK fail to wear a seat belt when they are driving or travelling in the front seat of car, despite the ongoing campaigns and warnings of not wearing one. A further one third of people don’t always wear a seat belt when they are a back seat passenger, and 1 in 10 people never bother to put a seat belt on at all.
If people wore a seat belt as a back passenger at the same rate as front passengers, around 30 lives could be saved each year. A further 15 front seat passengers and drivers could be saved due to there being no impact from behind of someone not wearing a seat belt in the rear. Considering the dangers of injury by not wearing a seat belt, you would think people would automatically put a seat belt on when they enter a car.
At Freeclaim Solicitors we have seen first-hand the devastating consequences that not wearing a seat belt can have. We have helped many people who have been injured in a road traffic accident to claim compensation for their injuries, even when they have not been wearing a seat belt to help prevent some injuries. Our compassionate solicitors are here to help you and will not only fight for the maximum amount of compensation available, but also help you gain access to specialist medical treatment and rehabilitation to get your life back on track.
Call us FREE 24 hours a day on 0800 612 7340. All enquiries are completely free and confidential and all our road traffic accident claims are taken on a no win, no fee basis so there’s no financial risk to you in making a claim.