Only YOU can get you to wear your seat belt
July 18, 2019
As health educators for Central Utah Public Health Department we promote, encourage, and beg people to wear their seat belts. We receive ongoing education on safe driving habits that leave no doubt in our minds that seat belts save lives. We wouldn’t even consider not wearing a seat belt everywhere we go.
We also know that more fatalities occur on rural roads. Contrary to what most people think, it isn’t safer in the rural area to go without a seatbelt. The same crash dynamics exist no matter where you are, but on rural roads the time it takes to get medical care is much longer. Janakaye Smith, our health educator from Sanpete County was recently in a car crash that totaled her vehicle. This is her story:
“I was taking my 3 boys on an overnight trip to Salt Lake City for Spring Break and while we were driving down I-15 there was a slow-down ahead of us. I had to slam on my breaks and the car behind us rammed into us going at a very high speed. Luckily, we were all wearing our seat belts including the driver of the other vehicle (her airbag did deploy). No one was injured other than having some whiplash. We all agreed and talked about how lucky we were that we were wearing our seat belts as we realized that with the force of the impact we would have been hurt had we not been wearing them. I feel it helped cement in our families minds how important wearing a seat belt is.”
We hear a lot of excuses as to why people don’t wear their seat belts. I’ve talked to so many people that tell me they are good drivers and wouldn’t get in a crash. That might be true if you could control other people on the road in their vehicles but you can’t. Using a seat belt or not using one boils down to this, “Do you want to get ejected from the car?” I knew a 13-year-old girl that got thrown out of a car. Her head went through the windshield. She had massive head injuries. At the time I just couldn’t imagine someone’s head going through a windshield. We tend to avoid thinking about things like that because it’s so awful. It’s interesting that studies show even people who don’t wear seatbelts believe they would be less injured if they had one on in a crash.
The truth is the only person that can get you to wear your seat belt is you. Your family can be a big influence, but when you’re alone in a car with no parent or child there to remind you, it’s all up to you. It’s got to be a personal decision and it’s got to be one you make every time you get in a vehicle.
Pamela Goodrich, Health Educator/Central Utah Public Health Department