A Word to the Wise: Your Neighborhood Is the Most Dangerous Place to Drive
Did you know that most Bakersfield car crashes happen within five minutes of the driver’s home address?
Unfortunately, your local neighborhood is also the place where — statistically speaking — you are the least likely to use a seatbelt.
Think about that for a second. People forego seat belts in their local communities because they think they are safer during those quick, casual trips. But exactly the opposite is true: that’s where most of the accidents happen!
While California scores better than most states in terms of seatbelt use, there is still a lot of progress to be made in our local neighborhoods. Right here in Bakersfield, we see our fellow community members sometimes commuting around town without the aid of a safety restraint.
The temptation to go a few minutes without a belt is easy to give into, but it’s so important that we all commit to buckling up — each and every time. Why? We’ll give you six great reasons.
1. Seat belts Save Lives
Really, they do. You’ve probably heard “buckle up” so many times that the phrase starts to lose some of its power. But it’s more than a three-syllable aphorism. It’s real, honest, demonstrable truth.
While seat belts can’t prevent an accident from happening, they can protect your body from deadly harm. Study after study shows that unbuckled accident victims suffer the most devastating injuries and the highest rate of death.
2. It’s the Law
If the live-saving benefits aren’t enough to convince you, consider this: driving without a seatbelt is honestly more hassle than it’s worth.
You will get pulled over by a police officer. It might not happen today, and it might not happen tomorrow, but California’s police officers are actively looking for unrestrained vehicle occupants. When they spot them, they do pull them over and issue tickets. It happens all the time, and if you travel without a seatbelt, it will eventually happen to you.
Getting pulled over is time-consuming, embarrassing, and can sometimes even lead to further legal problems arising out of the traffic stop.
Additionally, the ticket can cost anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the number of passengers without a seatbelt and their ages. Repeat offenses cost even more.
On top of the fine, you may have to deal with court dates (meaning time away from work) and mandatory driver safety courses. You could also be looking at a mark on your driving record. (In turn, that might mean hiring a lawyer at additional expense to remove it.)
It’s so much easier to just buckle up in the first place!
3. Your Airbag Assumes You’re Buckled In
Airbags are designed with the assumption that all drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts. If you aren’t, the airbag won’t work as well. It might not work at all. That’s because your body will move differently during collision and impact the airbag in a different direction (or miss it altogether).
In fact, when you’re not buckled, your airbag can actually cause you severe bodily injury. That’s because the force of impact with the airbag could be much greater than intended.
4. Insurance Companies Charge Unbuckled Drivers More
California insurance providers are always looking for ways to save themselves money. When it comes to insurance companies and seat belts in California, there are at least two facts you should know:
- The insurance company might not cover your injury claim if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
- Your auto insurance premium is likely to go up after an officer writes you a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
5. People Who Don’t Wear Seat belts Get Injured with No Wreck at All
Driving without a seatbelt means your body is vulnerable to every little bend and sway. Tap your brakes too hard, and your whole body could lurch forward toward the steering column and/or windshield.
Remember: glass and bodies don’t mix. Neither do skin and asphalt. Buckle up and avoid those awful combinations!
6. You’ll Be “That Guy”
Refusing to wear a seatbelt might have seemed “cool” many decades ago, but that has completely changed. Today’s society attaches a negative stigma to dangerous driving habits.
In fact, California has the highest rate of seatbelt compliance in the entire United States. A full 91% of Golden State drivers consistently buckle up. That’s pretty good!
Still, anything less than 100% is unacceptable, and until all drivers are doing their part, we still have work to do!
If you know friends who are still stuck in that stubborn 9%, please send this article their way! Maybe it will prod them toward a life-saving change.
Wearing a seatbelt is the smart, safe, and cool thing to do.
Injured in a Bakersfield Auto Accident? Call The Law Offices of Mickey Fine.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle collision — with or without seatbelt use — please contact the Bakersfield auto accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine right away.
We are here to help in any way we can. Get started by calling, texting, or contacting us online. The sooner you take action, the better.