By: Gabriel Kong (SMK Bandar Bintulu)
Vehicles nowadays have brought us to a further extent to places all around the Earth, making our dreams no longer a mere dream. Going back to the beginning, it was a German engineer, Karl Benz, who first invented the first modern automobile. But, during that time, there were no safety belts installed on it. As time moves on, these vehicles grew fancier each day and now are fully enhanced with safety features.
When travelling at slow speeds in your car the wearing of a seatbelt has little effect on your body when you brake. So why is it important to buckle up?The truth is that all driving can be dangerous and seatbelts should be worn regardless of the speed or distance travelled.A driver or passenger travelling in a car is moving at the same speed as the car. If the car suddenly stops, the body of the passengers inside will be moving forward at the same speed. This demonstrates inertia. Frankly, Newton’s first law states that a body stationary or moving with constant velocity will continue to do so, unless acted on by a force. This occurs whether it is going a block from your house or on a road trip, it is a dangerous game you play when you decide not to wear a seatbelt.
As a matter of fact, these belts are often seen as a hindrance for drivers or passengers, mostly because they feel quite uncomfortable when using them. Butwhat would you rather do, wear a seatbelt and get into an accident and live to see another day or get into an accident and die because you did not want to spend five seconds putting on a seatbelt? You would choose the first one because your life to your family is worth more than those five seconds. By not spending that time to make sure you would stay alive, you made your family spend a lifetime wondering, “What if I had buckled up, would things turn out different?” So, which do you value more? Choose wisely for the decision is yours to make.
Today, our government had even made fixing seat belts at the rear of the car compulsory and mandatory. This shows how important seat belts are and how they have the potential to save lives. Unfortunately, some belittled the seat belts at the rear and even gave up free offers to fix them. They never knew that wearing seatbelts at the rear is just as important as wearing them at the front. The back of the front seat may seem harmless, however when you are thrown out at great speed,the impact may be the same as you are hitting against a solid brick wall. It has been found that the rear seat belt itself could reduce the risk of fatality by around 20% mainly by eliminating ejection from the vehicle. In the event of a crash, an unrestrained rear seat occupant may be projected forward and thus increasing the risk of injury for front seat occupants.
Even though safety belts seemed to be tiny but they bring great differences into our lives, saving our lives not only once from the grasp of death. In 2009, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) reported that lap-shoulder belts when used will reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%, depending on the type of vehicle and seating position involved. For light truck occupants, safety belts can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60% and moderate-to-critical injury by 65%. Moreover, seat belts are credited with preventing an estimated 13,250 fatalities of people over the age of 4 in the same year.
Road related fatalities happen for a reason and most of the time it is related to reckless behaviors and negligence. We have to change our mindset and daily practice so that such tragedies will not happen to us and our loved ones. Sometimes, it only requires a simple yet, minor action just to make a big difference. So, buckle up before you ride and do not allow the grim reaper to lay his hands on you.