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Safety belts: best accessory in any vehicle

An accident which occured between Oshakati and Ondangwa main road resulted in the driver and passenger being thrown out of the vehicle as they were not wearing safety belts. (Photograph by Hilmah Hashange)Road accidents in Namibia are prevalent, especially during public holidays. During the recent Africa Day long weekend, between 24 and 27 May, 11 people lost their lives. Over these three days, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’s Call Center recorded a total of 38 road crashes in 9 regions, which left 96 people with serious to moderate injuries.
The Namibian Police has, on numerous occasions, warned motorists to decrease their speed and has also enforced the strict use of safety belts especially in accident-zone arears.
However, even with the strict penalties imposed on motorists for non-compliance with wearing safety belts, many motorists still do not adhere to the rules and fail to realise that safety belts are there to protect them and their passengers and  are not accesories in the car.
The consequences of not wearing a safety belt can result in a passenger being thrown out of the vehicle. Moreover, safety belts should be properly worn in order to reduce the impact of collision on the passenger or the driver. The safey belt should be properly worn with both straps snugly fitted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can take it, such as  your hipbones and shoulder bones. With just the shoulder strap on, you can still slide out from under it and be strangled, while the lap belt alone doesn’t keep your face from hitting the steering wheel.
Most people have excuses for not wearing safety belts but what most people don’t realise is that an accident can happen to anyone, whether you are a good driver or not.
Worries about being trapped in the car during an accident because you wore a safety belt can be set aside as statistics show that the best place to be during an accident is in your car. If you’re thrown out of the car, you’re 25 times more likely to die and if you need to get out of the car in a hurry, as in the extremely smaller percent of accidents involving fire, one can get out a lot faster if you haven’t been knocked unconscious inside your car.
Also, it is proven that over 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 kilometers of your house so even when quickly heading to the supermarket, wearing a safety belt is highly recommended. Because modern safety belts are very comfortable to wear, little should deter you from not putting one on, especially when traveling long distances. Wear a safety belt at all times. It will save your life.

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