Most of us in Brazil probably know of a friend or family member who has died in a car crash, and today we offer one simple measure to reduce this senseless loss of life: don’t permit any “loose cannons” inside the car.
The loose cannon problem was recently highlighted by the death a few weeks ago of perhaps the world’s most famous mathematician, John Nash, Jr. (who inspired the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind”) and his wife, Alicia. According to CNN, the couple were riding, without seatbelts, in the back of a taxi which “went out of control while trying to pass another car, and they (the Nashes) were ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene”.There are many factors that we cannot control while we are driving, including road conditions and what other drivers are doing. But this one measure—not allowing “loose cannons”; that is, people without seatbelts—is something vital to insure the safety of everyone in the car.
Most all of us probably use seatbelts in the front seat, but few people think about those in the back seat, and even fewer people consider that if the people sitting in the back seat are not wearing seat belts, they can kill others who are in the car if there is a crash, even if the others are using their seat belts.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization) advice about driving safety, what happens in a car crash is that “a car occupant without a seat-belt will continue to move at the same speed at which the vehicle was travelling before the collision.” A person sitting in the back seat without a seatbelt will either smash, like a cannon shot, into the person sitting in the front seat—often with enough force to cause death of both of them— or be “ejected from the vehicle completely. Being ejected from a vehicle drastically increases the probability of sustaining serious personal injury or being killed.”
The WHO continues: “Seat-belts are effective in preventing ejections: overall, 44% of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed are ejected, partially or totally, from the vehicle, as compared to only 5% of occupants who are using seatbelts”.
Here are some facts to remember for people in the front and back of a car:
1) Don’t think: “I trust the driver. He is a good driver and won’t get into a crash.” Many crashes are caused by mistakes made by other drivers; not the driver of your car.
2) Airbags are helpful but not enough. To work effectively, you need to use seat belts as well.
3) “I’m ok in the back seat.” As we see from the facts above, you are not. You can either be ejected from the car, with a high risk of death, and/ or kill the person sitting in front of you.
Being on the road, either as a driver or a passenger, is a main cause of early death in Brazil. Don’t be another statistic. Insist that everyone in the car use a seatbelt or an appropriate car seat for a child.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)