The most important decision you can make when getting behind the wheel is to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt is not only the law, it can also be the difference between life and death. In 2017, an estimated 14,955 lives were saved by wearing a seat belt across the United States.
Although most Americans, around 89.6% of people polled in 2018, confirmed they click it every time they drive, it doesn’t mean they’re wearing it properly or won’t experience injuries because of it.
While, generally speaking, seat belts do more good than harm, they are not without their risks. Injuries to the abdomen (including the stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, and pancreas), the chest (including rib fractures), and the spine and neck (including spinal fractures and herniated discs) can all occur when the force of an auto accident causes trauma from a seat belt.
The most common abdominal injuries are those that affect internal organs. The stomach, small and large intestines, liver, spleen and pancreas often experience bruising or tearing of the mesentery, the fold of tissue that holds the abdominal organs in place. Blunt force trauma can also cause internal bleeding, which can lead to further complications. Multiple injuries are common and are often combined with spinal injuries.
Oftentimes, chest injuries from a seat belt can appear to only be superficial. Bruising, lacerations, and rashes from the belt are clearly visible and thought to be the main cause of pain. In many instances, underlying injuries go unnoticed. Chest injuries can include:
References to the backbone of an entity are used to describe the basic underlying foundation of everything else included. We pull this analogy from the spine, the guiding force of movement for the rest of the body. One of the spine’s main purposes is to absorb and distribute shock imposed on the body. Because of the powerful force of a car accident, spinal injuries are extremely common and can include:
Common complaints regarding seat belts are that they’re uncomfortable and restricting. However, no amount of lack of comfort is worth the risks associated with not wearing one, and the purpose of wearing one is in fact to restrict movement during a collision or sudden stop. Following these simple steps of how to properly wear a seat belt could save your life and prevent further damage from wearing one incorrectly:
These guidelines for wearing seat belts do not apply to children, who should be properly restrained according to the most current car seat laws in Florida every time they are in a vehicle.