Never underestimate the worth of a seat belt. They’re one of the simplest and most important features for protecting passengers during a car journey. They ensure that, if there is a crash, everyone in the vehicle is secure in their seats—helping to prevent injuries. No matter how expensive the car or how many advanced security features it has, fastening your seat belt is the most basic step you can take to reduce the risk of death or a severe injury.
You might be a very experienced and safe driver. Unfortunately, not everyone around you is as well. You’re sharing the road with newly qualified drivers as well as drivers who ignore the rules of the road. If there is an emergency situation, you may brake sharply and suddenly. This is where the seatbelt will prove its worth. They may be seen as an inconvenience, but using one can reduce the chance of dying in a crash by 50%, according to The Handbook of Road Safety Measures.
In fact, research from the Transport Select Committee found that 21% of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt during the journey. This applies just as much to passengers in the back, as well as the front. Passengers in the back that aren’t wearing their seat belt may fly forward during an accident and impact those in the front. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children under 14 years of age are secure. If you’re older than 14, you’re responsible for your own.
Airbags can sometimes provide a sense of false security. They deploy on impact to provide a cushion. However, without a seatbelt, the passenger may not be in the correct position for a safe deployment – ironically placing them in more jeopardy. Of course, in an extreme crash, passengers may even be thrown from the vehicle without a seatbelt to hold them securely.
Octo Telematics, the number one global provider of telematics for the auto insurance industry, supports Road Safety Week and the pledges Brake has proposed on secure driving:
Drivers – I'll make sure everyone in my vehicle is belted up on every journey, and kids smaller than 150cm are in a proper child restraint. I'll choose the safest vehicle I can and ensure it's maintained.
Everyone – I'll belt up on every journey, and make sure friends and family do too.
Octo’s free smartphone app Octo U (iPhone and Android) collects, analyses and stores telematics data on your driving behaviour, giving you tips on how to improve and a score to motivate you. It detects, reconstructs and analyses all significant events that occur during a trip, such as harsh braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and how curves are negotiated. You can compare your score with friends and compete to be the best driver, as well as submit it to a panel of insurers to see if you could qualify for a discount.