Lifesavers to the rescue
Use seatbelts and head restraints for your own sake because they can prevent grievous injuries

One often sees an adult in the passenger seat with a small child in the lap. The adult is strapped in with the seat belt but not the child, who is almost touching the dashboard and dangerously close to the windscreen. In case of a collision, the child is in grave danger. The child, whose bones are soft tissue will be crushed by the adult’s weight, thereby causing grievous injury. The windscreen could be laminated but shards do fly out, centimetres from the child’s eyes and face. The airbag will definitely cause damage.

The embossed legend on the dash board or steering wheel centre, reads "SRS air bag" or the "Supplementary Restraint System". The operative word here is "supplementary", the second line of defence, the first being the seatbelt. By itself the air bag is a danger, it can even be fatal.

There is no doubt that seatbelts have saved thousands of lives and prevented serious injuries to many more. However, it must be used with the seat back in an upright position. Using the seatbelt with the seat back in a reclined position will allow the body to slide under the belt and will cause serious injury to the neck, spine and pelvis.

It is not recommended to restrain children in the front seat with seat belts. In some countries, children below the age of eight are not allowed in the front seat. Younger children must be carried in special child seats.

There is yet another safety feature incorporated into the seats. The head restraint, which a lot of people ignore. Ladies claim it messes up their hair, Sardars say it is uncomfortable with a turban on the head. So they remove it.

The head restraint is as much a life saver as the seatbelt. In case of a rear-end collision, the head gets thrown back. It can snap the spine. The head restraint prevents that disaster.

You may have noticed that while on a twisty road and cornering fast you lean your body into the corner to fight centrifugal force which is pushing the body to the outside. If this happens to you at 40-50 kmph, imagine what G-forces a Formula-1 driver is subjected to around sharp corners and at speeds upto 300 kmph. Any sudden move can snap the neck. To prevent this, it is mandatory for all F-1 drivers to wear a Head and Neck Support – (H.A.N.S) to keep the head and spine safe.

F-1 circuits have left-hand and right-hand turns. American circuits are called Speedways, they are oval in shape with only left-hand turns and the track is banked to make sure the centrifugal force doesn’t make the car fly off the track.

With only left-hand turns, the G-forces are from the left and the body and every thing in it is being pushed to the right. After a lifetime of racing, it is common that the internal organs of the drivers are not where they should be. The heart could be closer to the middle of the rib cage, the lungs closer to each other, most organs having moved to the right hand side of the body.

Happy Motoring !