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Q: Do I really have to wear a seat belt? My granddad always used to say that a seat belt is death trap. He told me that if you’re going to collide with another car, it’s best if you can be thrown free to safety before the cars crash and explode. Is that righ

The surprising thing is that we have heard the “it’s best if you are thrown out of the car in a crash” advice more than once, and from people we always considered very smart. Here are three responses that you should pass on to your grandfather:

1. Seatbelts are Vital for Saving Lives When Accidents Occur

A seat belt isn’t a “death trap”; it’s one of the most important safety innovations of the last 100 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which collects road safety statistics, says about 15 percent of drivers and front seat passengers don’t use their belts. If they did, car accident fatality rates would be reduced by around 45 percent. NHTSA has concluded that seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury. The World Health Organization concurs with that opinion, and has undertaken a global campaign to make seat belts available in passenger vehicles around the world.

2. Being Ejected From a Car During a Crash? Not a Good Choice.

The injuries that people sustain from being ejected in a car crash are overwhelmingly more extensive than people who are not ejected. Being thrown from a vehicle is almost a guarantee of death or critical injury. Ejection accidents usually result from high-energy collisions. These types of collisions include head-on crashes, rollover accidents, or collisions with a truck or other large vehicle traveling at highway speeds.

The injuries that result from ejection accidents are usually critical. Multiple fractures are likely, including compound or comminuted fractures. Damage to the brain or spinal cord can lead to paralysis or immediate death. Broken ribs can puncture lungs or other internal organs. Internal organ damage can result from the impact of landing on the ground.

Safety belts are your best defense against being ejected during a collision. That’s the primary reason they were invented.

3. Cars Do Not Often Burst into Flame After a Collision.

Car fires themselves aren’t especially common. One study has estimated that only about three percent of car fires occur because of vehicle collisions. Most of those fires begin when an automobile is struck in the rear, where the gas tank is.

The popular conception that most traffic accidents conclude with a car bursting into flame is a product of television shows and movies. Films often try to heighten the drama by using special effects to make a car explode after a crash. It does not usually work that way in real life. Because cars do not typically explode from a crash, there is no need to refrain from using a seat belt for fear of being trapped in a car fire.

Sometimes Catastrophic Car Accidents do Happen

When a major car accident in Pennsylvania hurts you or a family member through no fault of your own, you may be due compensation from the person whose recklessness caused your injuries. Call the Harrisburg car crash attorneys of Schmidt Kramer today locally at 717-888-8888 or toll free at (888) 476-0807. You will be invited to schedule a free, confidential case review. Use this opportunity to order our informative client book, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured In An Automobile Accident?, which will be sent to you FREE on request.