Sunday, November 6, 2011

V2.29 - Seat Belts – buckle up, please

If you’ve spent any of your precious time reading these little articles of mine, then you’re probably aware that I’m known to go off on a tangent at times. Welcome to the latest one.
We recently had another youngster die because she was not wearing her seatbelt and got ejected from her car in a vehicle accident. I’ve seen reports that ‘she was doing everything correct- not speeding, not drinking, etc’, but when she chose to drive without her seat belt buckled, she was putting her life at risk when this just did not have to be. Please understand, I am not ‘piling on’ and saying she caused her death. I have nothing but compassion for her friend and relatives. I am so sorry that they have to go thru this, but people, if you don’t want your folks to possibly go thru this - buckle your dad-burn seat belt.
How anyone can drive a car without fastening their seat belt is beyond my understanding…but it was not always this way. I used to drive cars that did not even HAVE seatbelts. (Please note that I have installed seat belts on all 3 of my antique cars. I will not drive without them) I can remember driving my 1950 Ford all over the country without it even having a seatbelt. It does now.
My ‘moment of realization’ came in 1990. I had been driving my dirt stock car for 3 seasons by then and wouldn’t even THINK of racing without wearing my 5-point harness. (On the side note, I wonder why all racecars have shoulder harnesses and lap belts? Perhaps because it can save the life of the driver in an accident?... well DUH) So, here I was driving down the interstate in Memphis, TN on my way to work in my 1982 Chevette (yes, I had one - don’t laugh) no seatbelt on and it was raining cats & dogs. Well, all of a sudden, I started hydroplaning and the car began to slide sideways on the road. Fortunately, there were no other cars close to me and I just let off the gas pedal and when the car slowed down enough, I got traction back. Well, I got to thinking, ‘what if I had slid far enough to slam into the guard rail? Most likely, I would have been thrown across the car and would not have even been behind the wheel any longer. You can’t drive if you are not behind the steering wheel.’ Those were my thoughts…and I immediately buckled my seat belt and have not driven a car without doing so since.
My point is, why risk your life if you don’t have to? EVERY time you get out on the public road, something my happen to you. They are called ‘accidents’ for a reason – no one plans them. PLEASE buckle your seat belts and live to tell about it.

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