Seat belts and airbags have evolved since the first vehicles from being optional devices to becoming mandatory items that must be installed in vehicles. It is rare for a place to not have a safety belt law and all new vehicles have minimum requirements for airbag installation (although extra airbags can be optional). The original seat belts that were invented in the late 1800’s, were optional add-ons to vehicles but were later installed as standard in all vehicles.
Today there are airbags and seat belts in every new vehicle. Airbags are installed in steering wheels and sometimes the dashboard and doors or even roofs of vehicles. When it comes to seat belts, for many years they were optional and in some cases controversial. Indications were that seat belts could bruise and harm people in a serious crash or trap them within a vehicle. Some pregnant women refused to wear them for fear of harming their unborn babies in a crash or hard braking scenario. Airbags caused problems in early days and the force even resulted in several fatalities. Through research, design modifications and tests with crash test dummies and cadavers, the technology has come a long way. Airbag manufacturers still recommend caution in the fact that individuals under certain size restrictions (such as children) ride in the back seat for safety.
Seat belts protect you by holding you in the vehicle incase of a crash that might otherwise eject you through the windshield. The seat belt also locks an individual safely in place in case of sudden breaking or impact. This can help protect you against the jarring of sudden stops. Airbags protect people against impact against a steering wheel or in case of collision or rollover.
Statistically, individuals who are in accidents that have manufacturer-installed airbags and who properly wear their seat belts have a better chance of making it out of a serious accident without serious injuries. Most places in the world do have strict laws about wearing seat belts whether in the front or back seat and for properly restraining your children. Not only is someone who isn’t wearing a seat belt risking injury to them self but also to other passengers in the vehicle. If a person is not secured in their seat during an accident, their being thrown within the vehicle could also harm other passengers who are properly harnessed in their seat.
Airbag safety precautions are best ensured by having your seat is as far away as you can from the airbag while still being able to reach all your vehicle controls. Ten to twelve inches is the recommended distance for the passenger or driver to sit from the airbag. Seat belts should be worn low across your abdomen and diagonally across your chest. Most seatbelts are adjustable so they can be worn quite comfortably. Airbags and seat belts exist on your vehicle to help keep you safe and following directions for using them can assure your safety.