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The single most important thing to do each time you get in a car

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It’s a sobering thought.

You are 10 times as likely to die in a car crash if you’re not wearing a seatbelt.

Yet, some people still are willing to gamble with their lives – and those of others – by not buckling up.

Of 116 motor vehicle occupant fatalities in 2019, 23 (20%) were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Not wearing a seatbelt is not only an act of stupidity, it is an act of selfishness.

An unbelted driver or passenger can become a deadly projectile because objects in a car travel at the same speed as the vehicle.

If the vehicle is travelling at 60 km/h, so are you.

If the vehicle is travelling 100km/h, you are too.

Without a properly fitted seatbelt or child restraint, people in a crash can be hurled around – or out – of a vehicle with immense, deadly, force, even at relatively low speeds.

The jolt of stopping suddenly generates tremendous forces and a seatbelt distributes that force to some of the strongest parts of the human anatomy – the chest and pelvis.

The solution to staying as safe as possible in a crash isn’t rocket science.

Fasten your belt – properly. The belt should be safely secured, with no twists, with the sash over the middle shoulder and diagonally across your chest.

The lap belt should fit snugly over your hips.

Check that all seatbelts and restraints are in good condition and fasten properly with the correct tension.

Ensure that all your passengers have their seatbelts fastened too – as driver YOU are responsible and can face fines and demerit points if they are not ‘belted up’.

Children are particularly vulnerable in a crash.

Check that child restraints and booster seats are in good condition and fasten properly with the correct tension.

Child seats, restraints and booster seats, and their anchor points, should be checked carefully for signs of wear and tear; research shows an alarming number of children travel in poorly fitted car seats.

And it’s not only car drivers who need to ensure they wear a seatbelt.

An estimated 40 heavy vehicle drivers die each year in Australia and research shows that if heavy vehicle seatbelt wearing rates matched that of car drivers, unbelted truck driver deaths would be reduced by half.

So, buckle up to stay alive.

There’s no excuse not to.

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