Check Your Health: Seat belts save lives

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Check Your Health: Seat belts save lives (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Whether you’re planning to travel hours or just a few minutes this holiday season, one piece of advice remains the same. When you get in a car – buckle up!

In Utah, there is a car crash every eight minutes, and when people choose not to wear a seat belt, the risk of death and injury dramatically increases.

“People without seat belts will have a tendency to have more head injuries. When your head is launched forward, it ends up being the tip of an arrow you could say and might hit the windshield or steering wheel,” Capt. Joey Mittleman with Murray City Fire Department EMS said.

If protecting yourself isn’t enough motivation to buckle up, think about your family and friends who are also in the car.

“The person not wearing their seat belt often injures the rest of the people in the vehicle,” Jody Carter, APRN at Intermountain Medical Center Trauma Program said.

Someone who is not wearing their seat belt can become a flying object – increasing the risk of them hurting or killing others in the car by 40 percent.

“It’s really selfish of you not to put it on in someone else’s car because you could become that person that hurts everyone else,” Carter said.

In the event of a crash, wearing a seat belt and wearing it properly allows the other safety features in your car to protect you.

“Typically if you’re seat belted and restrained properly, your body is going to be stopped within 1-2 inches of that,” Mittleman said.

If you’re in your seat when the air bags go off, they will hit you in the right place and protect you.

Make sure your seat belt is not only buckled, but that it’s properly fitted. The waist belt should be over your hip bones, not across your belly, and the upper strap needs to be at the correct height and across the collar bone. For kids this may mean a specific car or booster seat is needed to keep them safe.

Historically, Thanksgiving weekend ties for the second deadliest weekend on Utah roadways. Let’s change that this year and buckle up!

“You’ve not only got to watch out for yourself, but you’ve got to watch out for your loved ones,” Mittleman said.

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