When driving a short distance from home or down the block, it doesn’t seem worth the bother to use a seatbelt. You’re driving in your neighborhood, you aren’t going very far, and you’re driving less than 30 mph. That is, the area is practically your backyard and is therefore safe. In addition, you’re driving so slow, that any accident you might have will be little more than a fender bender. What’s the harm in that?
If there is absolutely no other traffic on the route taken, the driving conditions are excellent, your car is well maintained, and you’re well rested and alert, then probably no harm will come to you. However, in a typical real world situation, there will be traffic on the roads as well as pedestrians and possibly children complicating your short drive. Because statistics show that most accidents happen within ten miles of the home, there’s a real chance you could get into an accident.
Although you’re probably worse off getting into an accident at a high speed, a crash at speeds lower than 30 mph without a seatbelt can still cause life altering injuries. It depends on the accident and the inflicted injury. A broken neck or a serious brain injury can happen to an unbelted person traveling at 25 mph. Picture slamming into a solid wall while racing your bicycle at 25 mph. You will hit your windshield or other object in your car in a crash at a similar speed. If the accident forces you off the road and down an embankment, the car could start rolling. This means tumbling unrestrained within the vehicle.
Driving less than 30 mph doesn’t guaranty that another car moving at 50 mph won’t crash into you. If it’s a head-on collision, then the speeds add together. If the collision is with another slow-moving vehicle such as a semi-truck, then its superior mass rather than its speed will inflict substantial damage to your car.
Even though you’re alert, that doesn’t guaranty the alertness of others on the road. The presence of pedestrians and children in the neighborhood may cause a less than alert driver to make a last second evasive maneuver into your car in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian. In short, driving is dangerous regardless of where you do it or how fast you do it. Always wear your seatbelt.
If you were injured by a negligent driver in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us at Hogan Injury.