Watermelons, Physics and Seat Belts
Think back to when you studied physics in school. There’s a principle related to Newton’s laws of motion called inertia. Inertia is an object’s tendency to resist changes in motion. So, if something isn’t moving, it’s going to resist being moved. On the other hand, if something IS moving, it’s going to resist stopping.
AvatarFleet teaches this principle to truck drivers when we talk about load securement. Let’s say you set a watermelon on the bed of your truck. No tie downs, straps or anything to keep it from moving around. If the truck is moving at 65 miles per hour, so is the watermelon. Because of inertia, the watermelon won’t stop just because the truck stops. It will resist stopping. So what happens if you stop suddenly? The watermelon will go flying forward and splatter against the back of the truck cab. If you properly secure it to the truck bed, though, it will stop when the truck stops.
You vs. Physics
In case you didn’t know, the same goes for you in the car. When you’re driving, you’re traveling at the same speed as your vehicle. When your vehicle stops, you stop with it. Think of your seat belt as the securement and yourself as the cargo. Your seat belt stops you from continuing to move when your vehicle stops.
Sure, if you apply the brakes and stop gradually, you’ll slow down just like your vehicle, with or without your seat belt. But that’s assuming you plan to stop. What if the unexpected happens? What if you have an accident? If that’s the case, your vehicle will stop but you won’t. The crash could eject you from the vehicle, and unless you wear a helmet and protective gear while you drive, that spells trouble for you.
I’m baffled that some people don’t wear seatbelts. About 85 to 90% of drivers wear their seat belts. That’s obviously a ton of people, but I still wonder about that small chunk that don’t. Pardon my bluntness, but if you’re in that category, what is your reason? You can’t possibly have a good one.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death among those 5 to 34 years old in the United States. Wearing your seat belt is the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself while driving, and here’s why:
- Seat belts can reduce risk of injury or death by 50%
- People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from their vehicle
- People who are ejected from their vehicle are four times more likely to die
- Victims are not properly restrained in more than half of all fatal car accidents
No Ifs, Ands Or Buts
Some people will inevitably argue against seat belts to the bitter end (which is statistically sooner for them than the rest of us). They’ll say it’s uncomfortable, that it’s not necessary for short car rides or that they’re just such a good driver they won’t have an accident. Debunking these is so easy, it’s almost not worthwhile, but for prosperity’s sake, let’s go for it.
1. IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE
Neither is being flung from your car at 30 miles per hour. And it certainly wouldn’t be comfortable for the person who has to live with the fact they killed you, or your family.
2. IT ISN’T NECESSARY FOR SHORT CAR RIDES
It only takes one second for a car accident to happen. Therefore, any trip that’s longer than the time it takes to move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator warrants the use of a seat belt.
3. BECAUSE I’M A GOOD DRIVER, I DON’T HAVE ACCIDENTS
This is my favorite. You “don’t have accidents”? In case you didn’t know, the nature of accidents is that you don’t plan to have them. I hate to use a cliché, but expect the unexpected.
Sorry for all the snark, but if you don’t wear a seatbelt, there are 9-year-old kids with more foresight than you. Please, for everyone’s safety, buckle-up and practice good safe driving behaviors.