It takes 5 seconds to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle, and those precious seconds reduce your risk of death or serious injury in a collision by half.
On average in Saskatchewan, 48 unbuckled occupants are killed each year in vehicle collisions. All you have to do to protect yourself is buckle up and be sure your seatbelt is properly adjusted.
- The lap portion should be tight over your hips, not your abdomen.
- The shoulder belt should fit snugly over the middle of your shoulder and across your chest.
When a vehicle crashes, there is actually more than 1 collision taking place.
- The 1st is the vehicle hitting something, which causes it to buckle and bend before coming to a stop.
- The 2nd collision is more dangerous. As a crashing vehicle comes to a stop its occupants continue moving in the direction of the collision. Without a seatbelt you will be thrown around inside the vehicle, putting you in danger of colliding with other occupants or being ejected through a window.
Seatbelts work by holding you in place and distributing the impact of the collision over the most solid parts of your body.
It's that simple, and yet some people in Saskatchewan still choose not to wear their seatbelts. An impressive 94.7% of people in urban areas buckle up every time they get into a vehicle, but that number drops to 88.3% in rural areas.
Part of the problem may be the misconceptions that are often associated with seatbelts.
- One common myth is that air bags alone are sufficient protection in a collision. While frontal airbags can be an important safety feature in vehicles, they are not effective in side, rear or rollover collisions. Unbelted occupants may also be injured or killed by the force of a deploying airbag.
- Another misconception is that seatbelts can trap occupants if a vehicle catches fire or goes into water. The fact is that you are 5 times more likely to be knocked unconscious and unable to escape a vehicle if you are not wearing a seatbelt.
- It is also untrue that unbelted occupants who are thrown clear of a vehicle will fare better in a collision. In reality, you are 3 times more likely to be killed if you are ejected from a vehicle.
No matter where you live - the city, the farm or a First Nation community - the consequences of not buckling up aren't limited to your physical safety. Being without a seatbelt can also put a serious dent in your pocket book.
As a driver in Saskatchewan, you are responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured. If you're caught not wearing a seatbelt or with an unbelted passenger, you'll face a stiff $175 fine.
What's more, you'll be assessed demerit points as part of our Safe Driver Recognition program.
Whatever your reasons, take those 5 seconds to buckle up each and every time you get into a vehicle.