“A 50 kg. person in the back seat of a car going 60 km/hour is equivalent to the weight of a rhinoceros. If there is a collision, and the car suddenly reduces speed, there will be a force of one ton of weight hitting a driver sitting in front”
This is according to Dr. Antonio Meira, an official of the Brazilian Association of Traffic Medicine (Abramet). None of us are surprised that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death of young people in Brazil, and the number two cause of death considering all ages.
According to Abramet, only 7% of Brazilians always use their seatbelt in the back seat. In the USA, that number is 72%. You are 3X more likely to survive a car crash in the back seat if you are using a seatbelt.
Most accidents occur close to home
Some people think that a seatbelt is not needed for short trips or trips close to home or at low speed. Do you know that 60% of accidents with serious injuries occur within 30 minutes of home, mostly driving to school or close to home?
“I am a good driver” is not everything
It’s great if you are a good driver, but you are only part of the equation. There are many intoxicated or just unsafe drivers that can ram your car from the side or cross over the center line, and you will not have time to react.
Bracing yourself won’t work
You might think that you can use your arms or legs to brace yourself in a crash instead of a seatbelt. It’s won’t work, and you will shatter your arms or legs in the process.
Ejected from the car is 25X more deadly
Without a seatbelt, you can be ejected like a human cannonball. You might go through the roof, cracking your neck and becoming paralyzed if you survive. People ejected from the car a have a 25x chance of dying as opposed to staying inside the car with a seatbelt.
Rear seat passengers can kill others
When you are unbelted in the backseat, you can kill people in the front or to the side of you, even if they are using their seatbelts.
Being in an Uber or taxi doesn’t protect
Many people who might use a seatbelt normally don’t do it in the back of an Uber or a taxi. This is a problem in the US as well, but people there are also getting smart and becoming better at using seatbelts in any car.
Avoid a traffic ticket
Police in Brazil gave out more than a million tickets last year for improper seatbelt use (required in the back seat as well). The fine is R$195, and 5 points.
If you are in the middle seat, there should be a seatbelt as well. Even if it takes a minute to find it, attach the proper belt for your seat, before the car starts moving.
With all seatbelts, the lap part should be low, below your stomach, and the upper diagonal part should fit snuggly but comfortably across your collarbone and chest. It should never rub on your face or neck. Never put the diagonal part behind you.
Kids need special care
Children age 10 and below need special care with car seats and seatbelts. Consult this easy guide by the Brazilian Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology for hints how to do this correctly.
So let’s all get smarter. Use seatbelts even in the rear seat, and if you are a driver, require all rear seat passengers to use them as well. It’s the right thing to do.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)