According to data used to compile the Government’s Think! campaign, you’re twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries in road traffic accidents if you are not wearing a seat belt at the time of a collision. There are few times in life when a single decision can make the difference between living and dying, but opting to wear a seat belt on a journey really can determine your fate.
What are the risks of not wearing a seat belt?
If you don’t wear a seat belt when driving or travelling as a passenger in a moving vehicle, you have a much higher risk of being killed in an accident on the road. Wearing a seat belt prevents you from flying forwards when two vehicles collide or a car hits an obstruction, such as a tree or fence; this can help to reduce the risk of severe head injuries and trauma, which may result in brain damage and even death. Your seat belt also prevents you being thrown from a vehicle, which prevents accidents involving other vehicles, which may be forced to brake suddenly or swerve to avoid hitting you and injuries, such as spinal and head injuries, broken bones and internal bleeding.
Wearing a seat belt: The law
Wearing a seat belt is not just important in terms of safety; it is also illegal not to wear a seat belt if you are a driver or passenger travelling on UK roads. Drivers who are spotted by police not wearing a seatbelt may be liable for a spot fine of £100; in the event that a driver is prosecuted, the fine may be up to £500 and driving restrictions may be enforced.
Staying safe on the roads
If you are driving or you are a passenger in somebody else’s car, always make sure that your seat belt is fastened securely before you set off. Pay attention to speed limits, watch out for pedestrians and other vehicles and always check your mirrors and signal before changing lane, slowing down or overtaking. Take extra care when the roads are slippery or icy, there is limited visibility or the sun is low, as adverse weather can increase the risk of car crashes.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash and you were not to blame, you may be thinking about claiming road accident compensation. If you would like expert no-win no-fee** advice about making a car crash claim, call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500, to discuss your individual case with a trained personal injury lawyer.