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Seatbelts, are they overrated?

Now that we have your attention, India is No.1 at something but not for the right reasons. We hold the record for the worst road safety in the world. Not surprising! Given the number of accidents that happen every day, India accounts for 11 percent of the accident-related deaths in the world.

1.In 2018 alone, more than 1.5 lakh people have lost their lives in road accidents.

2.On average, around 400 people are killed in road accidents every day. This is equivalent to a passenger plane crashing every day.

3.In 2017 alone, more than 26,800 were killed and more than 61,900 people suffered injuries in India due to non-usage of seatbelts.

4.A World Health Organization (WHO) report states that wearing seatbelts can reduce the risk of fatality by 45-60 percent in the event of an accident.

While our Government is taking several measures on road safety, it is important that we do our bit too! A recent study revealed why drivers/passengers aren't wearing seatbelts

1.Poor law enforcement

2.Feels uncomfortable to wear

3.Creates mark on my cloth

4.Not considered as an essential safety device

5.My friends/colleagues don't use it

Why seatbelts are important?

Let's refresh your mind with some elementary physics. It is important to know what happens to your body during a crash. Let's say you are driving on a highway at 80kmph, your body too is traveling at the same speed. When you hit an obstacle, your car will come to a sudden stop but not your body. It will continue to go forward because there is nothing to hold you in a place, you could either be thrown out of the car or collide with the dashboard or steering depending on your seat.  Chances are that people who are thrown out from a vehicle are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside the vehicle. Wearing a seatbelt will hold your body in place.

Seatbelts hold the occupants:

As you see from the above chart, 18.1% of the accidents occurred in India in 2018 are head-on collision. It is a collision where the front end of two vehicles hit each other when traveling in the opposite direction. This is where a seatbelt comes as a lifesaver. It holds the occupant in the seat and prevents them from throwing out of the vehicle due to force and hitting the dashboard, windshield which can cause serious head injuries or even worse.

Force is evenly spread:

Depending on the speed and impact, seatbelts disperses the force to the strongest parts of your body, shoulder and hips. They are designed to contact these parts which can handle high force during an impact.

Protects your head and spinal cord:

During a crash, the most vulnerable parts of our body are the head and spinal cord. If you are hit on your head you might end up with a traumatic brain injury. Likewise, spinal injuries can also be fatal. It can lead to death or loss of organs.

Airbags are not a substitute:

Few people think that airbags are a substitute for seatbelts. They are wrong! Airbags are designed to complement seatbelts. When you don't wear your seatbelt, your body won't remain in a position that will allow the airbag to help prevent you from getting injured. To get the most out of the airbag, wearing a seatbelt is a must.

To sum up, seatbelts are in fact underrated in India and we highly recommend you to buckle up irrespective of being in the front or the back seat. Seatbelts are lifesavers and it will protect you from fatal injuries. Likewise, we recommend you to protect your car with a comprehensive insurance policy with Cholamandalam car insurance.

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