Fuel consumption, comfort and price are important factors that many of us consider when purchasing a vehicle but safety features also need to be a top priority.
In a Public Opinion Survey done by Transport Canada, airbags and seat belts are among the most common safety features that Canadians recognize on their vehicles but they need to be used properly in order to achieve maximum protection.
Airbags are essential in helping prevent injuries and death, especially in frontal (i.e. head-on) collisions. Airbags are inflatable devices that deploy in a fraction of a second during a serious collision. Make sure that you do the following each time you get into your vehicle:
- Always wear your lap and shoulder belt system. Airbags are not a replacement for seatbelts and are specifically designed to work with the seat belt restraint system. Failure to buckle-up will put you at significant, additional risk.
- Maintain distance between yourself and the airbag. Sit at least 10 inches (25 cm) away from the steering wheel airbag. Sitting any closer than 10 inches puts you (or your passengers) at risk of making contact with the airbag while it’s inflating.
- Tilt the steering wheel toward your chest, not your head or neck.
- Frontal airbags on the passenger side are larger, so passengers should move the vehicle seat back as far as possible to provide plenty of room.
- Front seat passengers should not put their feet or any objects on the dashboard.
Transport Canada estimates that if all drivers and passengers always wore their seat belts, 300 lives would be saved every year in Canada. A seatbelt works by holding the occupant in place in the seat, reducing the risk of them striking the interior of the vehicle, colliding with other passengers or being ejected during impact or emergency braking.
A few key points to remember when using a seat belt:
- Wear a lap/shoulder belt system when available.
- Sit up straight and position the lap belt low over the pelvic bones / hips (not stomach) and the shoulder belt over the shoulder and across the chest. Never place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back. It’s dangerous.
- All occupants in a vehicle must be properly wearing a seat belt whether in motion or not.
- During pregnancy, women should wear the lap belt snug, low over the pelvic bones (below the baby) and the shoulder belt snug against the chest. The baby will be safer if the mother is protected in a crash.
If you or someone you know has an auto related injury, contact Mazin & Associates, PC to schedule your free consultation.
Source: Whiplash Prevention Campaign