I have an iron-clad rule, from the moment I got my first car, where the car does not get taken out of park until everyone in the car, even those in the back, have their seatbelts fastened. If I am riding in the back seat of someone else's car, I still fasten my seat belt. I do not feel comfortable in the car unless my seat belt is on.
For all of you who have given me crap about it since I was sixteen years old, I offer this:
Seatbelts Save Lives
There are two major routes that unrestrained persons take in a front-end MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident). Up-and-over or down-and-under (AKA “submarining”). With up-and-over, the upper body launches forward and up. The head strikes the windshield. (This produces the classic “windshield star”) Your injuries here include concussion, scalp laceration, and various brain bleeds. You can suspect fractured cervical vertebrae (and if you have a fracture with compromise to the spinal cord at C-4 or higher, you’ve lost the nerves that control chest expansion and the diaphragm. “C-4, breathe no more,” as the saying goes).
Go a little farther through the windshield, and it isn’t unexpected to leave some or all of your face behind stuck in the broken glass. You’d be surprised by how easily faces come off the facial bones.
You can also expect fractured wrists, arms, and shoulders, from folks trying to brace themselves.
A little farther through the windshield, all the way out of the vehicle (a situation we call “pre-extracted for your convenience”), and in addition to whatever damage you took on the way through, you get the damage from hitting the ground, trees, and metal poles at however-many-miles-an-hour.
Go read the article for yourself. Absolutely should be required reading for kids getting their driver's license.
The main reason I always wear my seatbelt:
My dad is a fireman, and drives a tow truck, both jobs expose him to a lot of accident scenes, both in a rescue situation, and a clean up situation. It's a hard, hard thing to do, especially in a community where you know practically everyone.
I wear my seatbelt because you never know what is going to happen with everyone else on the road. I've been in a rear-end collision, where the person who hit the car behind me was going 45 mph, and didn't notice two cars stopped, waiting to turn left. All of us had our seatbelts on. I ended up with whiplash, as did the lady in the car between us. My car got hit so hard that I would've hit the steering wheel with my chest, and my head would have hit the windshield. Instead, I ended up with a really sore neck, back, and some nerve problems for awhile (couldn't draw anymore, for about two months, during the busiest part of the semester. Drawing class sucked so bad after that. Just held my pencil and charcoal and couldn't make my right hand do what I wanted it to do.) But, considering the alternative, I got off very lightly.
So, read this article already! I'll shut up now, as I am up way past when I should be sleeping. Long, long day today...