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Why are seatbelts so important in a crash?

There are quite a few things you can do to avoid getting injured in a car accident. Most of these involve your active participation in being a safe and defensive driver who follows the traffic rules. However, there's one thing you can do that is -- for lack of a better phrase -- a no-brainer: Wear your seatbelt no matter what.

Your seatbelt is your first line of defense when all the other lines of defenses fail and you end up getting into a collision. Here's what your safety belt will do for you:

-- They prevent you from being ejected from your car. Those who fly out of their cars in crashes are 400 percent more likely to die. It's better to stay strapped in than to end up flying through the air and into the street.

-- They restrain you at the strongest areas of your body: your shoulders and your hips. This allows for the force of the collision to be spread out along the biggest stretches of your body, preventing the stresses from being applied to a single part of your body.

-- They prevent you from hitting parts of your car that could injure you, lie your steering wheel dashboard, windows and other features.

-- They give a little bit, so you come to a stop more gradually. A seatbelt will indeed stop your body's movement quickly, but not as quickly as you'd be stopped if you hit the steering wheel or went flying through the windshield and hit the road. Your seatbelt will slow you down just a bit more gradually.

Seatbelts won't guarantee that you'll escape a crash injury-free, but they will increase your chances of walking away from an accident. If a motorist does injure you, however, due to no fault of your own, a personal injury lawyer might be able to assist you in seeking financial claims for monetary damages relating to your injuries.

Source: Everyday Health, "Seat Belts: How They Save Lives," Beth Orenstein, accessed May 19, 2017

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