Passengers without seatbelts are deadly projectiles in car crashes

Despite aggressive advertising and campaigns, road accident deaths in South Africa remain among the highest in the world. More alarmingly, many of these deaths relate to not wearing a seatbelt.

You may have seen the road safety billboards along our national highways and freeways: "The person without the seatbelt caused the damage". For many this advertisement lacked context. What does it mean? How can the guy without the seatbelt cause the damage?

This hard-hitting Irish TV commercial with shocking imagery and an emotionally stirring story attaches more than just context, but real life trauma to these billboards.

What happens if you don't wear a seatbelt?

When the vehicle stops suddenly, without a seatbelt there is nothing to stop the forward-movement of those inside the car, so they will continue to move forward with the same force/speed as before the vehicle came to a standstill.

This forward motion will continue until some counteracting force is applied on the driver/passenger. A fastened seatbelt acts as this slowing force as opposed to a windshield or front seat, causing far lesser damage and preventing life threatening injury.

Why then, do so many South African drivers and passengers resist wearing a seatbelt? Some say it's a matter of comfort, despite the risk.  Others may simply not know or understand the risks.  And, of course, there is always the "it will never happen to me" mentality we all tend to have.

Our friends at AA put together some alarming statistics surrounding seatbelt habits in South Africa.

Credit_AA SA

Hyperphysics graphically shows the importance, not only of wearing a seatbelt, but the difference between types of seatbelts in this infographic.

Non-Stretch Seatbelts:


Stretch Seatbelts:


Driver/Front Passenger:


Back Seat Passenger:


Buckle up! Ensure that your passengers are buckled up too.  Don't allow your children to drive in a vehicle that doesn't have adequate restraints in the back. Don't become a statistic!

Visit Arrive Alive for more info, advice and stats.