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Learning to drive

Wearing your seatbelt

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If you run as fast as you can into a wall it’s going to hurt. It’s the same when the front of your car hits something at just 15mph. The car stops in the first tenth of a second, but you keep moving forward at the same rate the car had been moving – until something stops you. Like the steering wheel, dashboard or windscreen. This is at 15mph – crank that up to 30mph and the impact is four times as hard. Its the same impact you’d feel if you fell three stories out a window. In a crash, the chances are you’ll be travelling faster than 30mph, so give yourself a decent chance of survival and belt up on every trip, no matter how short it is.

Do I need to wear a seat belt?

If you think you don’t need to wear a seatbelt because your car has airbags, think again. The proper term for an airbag is a Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) – supplementary meaning ‘in addition to’… that means in addition to the seatbelt!

The penalties

Get caught driving while not wearing a belt and you’ll be fined. As for the driver, you’re responsible for wearing your own belt plus ensuring your passengers have theirs on too. That’s unless they’re over 14 – then they’re responsible for themselves.

Top tip

Avoid whiplash by adjusting the headrest properly – and get your passengers to do the same. The top of the rest should be level with the top of your head and angled forward so it’s as close as you can get. Headrests can reduce visibility, so don’t avoid whiplash only to crunch your car when you reverse into a space.