The chances of getting into a car accident at least once in your life are estimated to be more than 95 percent. This is a pretty good reason to make sure you are always alert when driving and educated on the appropriate procedures. You should ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Although the risk of injury or death due to an accident is very high, cars are actually much safer than they have ever been before. The retractable seat belt was invented in the 1940s and was offered as an “option” on cars not until the 1950s (Courtley, 2012). They were not mandatory in all cars in the US until 1968. It wasn’t until the nineties that most states passed laws requiring drivers to wear one. Another improvement in car safety is the incorporation of air bags. Air bag technology was invented to protect astronauts initially, when spacecraft’s were designed to crash-land back to Earth (Courtley, 2012). The first car air bag was invented in 1968, and installed in some vehicles in 1973. It wasn’t until 1999 that cars and light trucks were required to install both driver and passenger-side airbags. For me this is interesting, because for as long as I’ve lived it has always been the law to wear a seat belt, and there have always been airbags in cars. It’s strange to think that they were not always required, in fact they really haven’t been around very long at all if you think about it. We tend to overlook things and take them for granted, but it’s important to acknowledge the advances we have made in safety, and recognize that there is still more to be done.
You may have heard of this one before, Newton’s law proposes an object in motion will stay in motion. This is why the addition of the chest belt and headrest have been successful in reducing injuries and fatalities. The belt keeps your body firmly in the seat, and the headrest eliminates whiplash (Courtley, 2012).
It is important to not only be aware of yourself and your own actions, but also to keep your vehicle in good condition. We put our vehicles through a lot, and expect them to keep running, and performing well. Paying attention to your brakes and tires could greatly decrease the chances of an auto accident.
ACCIDENTS- AVOID AND MINIMIZE:
Driving requires a high degree of situational awareness. You need to observe the road, and look for things that may potentially cause an accident. Courtley suggests “keeping your head on a swivel” and watching for cars, pedestrians and anything else that may interfere. If all of your efforts have failed and a crash is unavoidable, you should respond with decisive maneuvers as smoothly as possible.
- Brace your hands on the wheel in the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions to allow the air bag to deploy without being obstructed by your hands and arms
- Slow your vehicle as much as possible, attempting to pump the brakes instead of slamming on them
- Use the front of your car-new cars are designed to take a hit better head on rather than taking a blow from the side
- Steer smoothly-if you jerk around the vehicle may skid and often times spin
After the accident, you should exit the vehicle quickly. It is important to remain calm, even if you are trapped in the vehicle, in which case you should go into combat breathing and stay conscious, and tell yourself you can endure this and help will arrive shortly.
Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL Survival Guide. New York, NY: Gallery Books