Safely using your seatbelt: What you should know

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Technology in our cars is so advanced, driving takes little effort today: you do not have to park by yourself, have extra sensors looking out for pedestrians and automatic beam control for your lights.

International stats say there are over 7 000 less deaths in recent years due to improvements in safety technology.

Yet, while it may feel like you have to do little to benefit from these features, you actually need to use them in a certain way to ensure you do not cause even more injury than if you did not have them in the first place. 

Seatbelts

While seatbelts are not a new phenomenon, what many people do not know is they have to be used in conjunction with other safety mechanisms or in a particular way for them to fulfil their proper function. Here is what you have to do to wear them properly:

• Airbags do not replace seatbelts but are designed to be used in conjunction with them. If an airbag deploys and you are not wearing your seatbelt, you can hit the airbag at up to 300km/h causing serious injury or even death.
• Back passengers must also always wear seatbelts. Not only will it prevent you from being flung from the car but will also stop passengers from hitting the seat in front of them. Without a seatbelt you can hit the front seats at such a high speed you can injure and even kill front passengers. 
• Seatbelts are designed for adults and can cause more damage to children if used incorrectly, for example without booster seats.
• Only once you are taller than 150cm or weigh more than approximately 40kg can you wear a seatbelt without a booster seat.
• Seatbelts are designed to not only stop you from being flung from the car but to absorb the impact of the crash where you are best able to withstand it: with your pelvis, ribcage and shoulders. 
• The lower strap of the seatbelt should sit across your lap and pelvis, not your stomach where you are vulnerable to internal injuries. 
• The belt that goes across your body should rest on your collar bone or chest but should never touch your face or neck.

Seatbelts and pregnancy

• You still need to wear one
• Wear the lap belt below your belly and across your pelvis
• Wear the shoulder part on the side of your belly and across your chest