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When you get into your vehicle, chances are you put on your seatbelt out of habit. This critical safety measure has been the difference between life and death in countless car accidents in Florida. Yet, even though it’s common knowledge that seatbelts save lives, many people fail to buckle up every time they get in the car. Or, if they do put their seatbelt on, they wear it improperly—which can jeopardize their safety just as much as if they weren’t wearing it.

Below are five safety tips on the proper use of seatbelts. Follow these, and you’ll reduce your chances of getting hurt if you’re ever involved in an accident.

  • Buckle up, regardless of distance or speed.Some people don’t bother putting on their seatbelt if they’re only going a few blocks because they assume they’ll be safe for such a short distance. Others argue that they’re not driving fast enough to worry about getting into a wreck. The reality is, you never know when or where an accident is going to happen, so play it safe and put it onevery single time.
  • Make sure your seatbelt has no wear and tear.Rips in the belt’s fabric or frayed edges can make a belt less sturdy and can cause it to fail in the event of a collision. If you notice any wear and tear in your seatbelt, have it replaced right away.
  • Wear one seatbelt per person.Sometimes people want to squeeze an extra person in the car, so they buckle two people in with the same belt. This is not a good idea. In the event of a crash, the people who are buckled in together could actually injure each other. Each passenger should have his or her own safety belt.
  • Infants should be properly belted in.A staggering percentage of parents—in fact, the vast majority—do not secure their children in the car correctly. Infants should always ride facing the rear of the car, and they should be secured in their seat in the way a professional has shown to be the safest. If you’re unsure whether you are doing this properly, refer to the manufacturer’s instruction that came with the seat, check with your local police or fire department, or watch an instructional video online.
  • Airbags have no effect on the need to buckle up.Even if your vehicle has airbags, you should still wear your seatbelt. If you’re not wearing your safety belt and the airbags deploy, you’re most likely going to hit the airbag with greater force than if you had been wearing your belt, which means you’re more likely to be injured.

Knowledge Equals Power in Orlando Auto Accident Cases

Of course, injuries still happen in accidents despite drivers’ best efforts to be safe. If you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident and need to file a claim, order a free copy of my book Your Complete Guide to Florida Auto Accident Claims.It provides valuable information that can help protect you and your family as you go through the accident claims process.