Safety belts were designed to keep you safe when you're in a crash. Most people know that they should wear them, but they also know that the risk of a crash is relatively low. As such, many people believe that it's not always a necessity to wear them.
Unfortunately, even if you're just taking a short joyride around your neighborhood, there is a risk of being involved in a collision. If you aren't wearing your seat belt, there is a higher risk of a few things happening, one of which is being thrown from the vehicle.
What can happen if you don't wear a seat belt and get into a crash?
One thing that can happen is that you can be thrown from the vehicle. This is more common if the windows are also down, but if the force is great enough, you can be thrown through the windows of your vehicle.
Seat belts don't just prevent you from being thrown out of the vehicle, though. They also prevent you from being thrown around inside your vehicle. For example, if you are hit from the side, the seat belt holds you in place. You might still hit your head on the window next to you, but it will be unlikely that you'll be thrown against another passenger or items in your vehicle.
In the case that your vehicle rolls over, the seat belt could be the difference between life and death. With no seat belt, you could hit your head on windows, the ceiling or other parts of the vehicle. If you are in a convertible, you could be thrown from the vehicle or pinned as you fall out of your seat. Seat belts reduce the risk of injuries and expulsions from the vehicle.
Isn't it safe to ride without a seat belt during a short trip?
No, and there's a good reason. Statistics show that approximately 80 percent of traffic collisions happen within 25 miles of your home. They also happen at slower speeds of 40 mph or less. While you may have a fear of being trapped inside the vehicle due to a belt, the risk is greater if you don't wear one. Not wearing one can result in being thrown from the vehicle, which puts you at a 25 times higher chance of being killed in the collision.
In short, wearing your seat belt can save your life. Remember to buckle up when you drive.