Roller coaster or car?
Imagine yourself riding a roller coaster. The track is a winding, steep ride that allows thrill seekers to enjoy 5 minutes at every amusement park. Remember how you felt sitting in that seat being jolted from side to side and finding yourself holding onto the safety rail with all your might? Wasn’t that a lot of fun to do? Did you ever have the fear of being hurt while riding that roller coaster? Not really; but we’re riding in a safe environment when there isn’t anything making the roller coaster stop suddenly or interfere with our path. Is being a passenger in a vehicle the same as riding in a roller coaster? Some people may feel it is the same. Are you one of those people?
While I was heading off to work recently, I was stopped in traffic and noticed the backseat passenger of the vehicle being me getting out of her seatbelt and move to the other seat, just behind the driver. She had her small child in a child seat in the centre of the backseat. But as she moved behind the driver, I noticed she didn’t put her seatbelt back on. Why didn’t she?
While we continued traveling in stop and go traffic, because of construction, I checked to see if she had placed the seatbelt back on but it was still hanging freely. Was she aware of the risks she was putting herself in, especially was stopping so often in traffic? Even at a slow speed of 30 km/h that we ended up reaching, a sudden stop could allow this passenger to continue to move forward in the seating compartment. The down side is that she could hit the driver squarely in the back of the head and injure them. They could both be injured and leave that small child helpless with two injured parents.
This is something that is completely avoidable. Having a seatbelt on, especially in the backseat, will help keep the driver and other passenger’s safe and injury free. Loose items in the seating compartment can continue moving even when the vehicle stops. The object still moves in the same direction the vehicle was moving before it stopped. Sitting behind the driver means they could push the driver through the windshield, even with their seatbelt on.
If the front seat passenger doesn’t wear their seatbelt they can be thrown across the lap of the driver and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Even if that doesn’t happen, the “loose” passenger because a visual distraction for the driver. Their loose condition can easily cause them to injure themselves as well. A sudden left turn or left swerve can easily cause the passenger to bang their head on the side window. Why would you do that to yourself? I’ve heard how people will say they trust the driver, so that’s why they don’t wear their seatbelt. If they trust the driver, they should wear their seatbelt because they’ll expect the driver to spot emergencies that may make them hit their brakes suddenly or to swerve suddenly to avoid a crash.
The true responsibility of the driver is to ensure their passengers arrive at their destination safely. If the passenger doesn’t initially put their seatbelt on, it’s up to the driver to make sure they do. You’re in charge of that vehicle, so make the rules. Once you establish those rules, your family or friends will learn them and start to follow those rules regularly when they ride with you.