Vacation Safety - Seat Belts

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With summer here many of us will be taking vacation during the next several weeks. According to AAA, July and August are the heaviest months for travel via automobile. Although gas prices have affected many of our plans, some will still be taking their automobiles to various destinations this summer on vacation. The single most important thing you can do for yourself and your family during your travel is to ensure everyone wears a seat belt.

It’s not about the law, although seat belt use is required in 49 of the 50 states, it’s about living. There are 37,000 people killed each year in automobile accidents. Eighty percent of the deaths occur in cars traveling less than 40 miles per hour and less than 25 miles from home. Seat belts could prevent 50% of the fatalities and 55% of the serious injuries.

You may have heard people say that the reason they don't wear seat belts is because they are afraid they will be trapped in their car in case of fire. Well, contrary to what television might portray, less than 1 out of 200 injury-producing accidents involves a fire. Your chances of getting out of a burning car are much greater if you wear your seat belts because you are much more likely to be conscious and capable of crawling out of a burning car if you are wearing your seat belts when the accident occurs.

We have all heard the stories of someone who survived a severe accident and were not wearing their seat belt. This does occur, but it is a rare event. You have to consider that your overall chances of surviving a severe auto accident are increased dramatically by wearing your seat belt. This has been proven over and over again in studies.

It is important to also consider the type of injuries that occur when you are not wearing your seat belt. Your body is ejected forward against the wind shield. This can result in a broken neck which can cause paralysis of the body from the neck down. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of quadriplegia in the United States.

So when you travel this summer . . . buckle up.

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