Effective Ways to Avoid Injuries During Wrecks

Recently, I asked, "When's the last time you reviewed the Florida Drivers' Handbook?" That's the little book you can get at the Department of Motor Vehicles drivers' license offices. It's filled with good information about driving safety tips. Go in to get a free booklet, learn some of the surprising things you, like everyone else, has forgotten and, then, return it to the office.

Let's go through some of what's discussed in it. I'll add a few things I've learned in thirty years of helping injured people in accident cases. About seat belts, I've heard every excuse for not wearing one. Fear of fire, fear of drowning if trapped in a car that goes into a drainage ditch. Come on. People are five times as likely to be killed if they're not wearing a seatbelt than if they are.

The front seat driver and passengers are required by law to wear them. How you wear a belt matters a lot. Don't tuck the shoulder portion behind the back. That allows jack knifing across the belt into a steering wheel or the dashboard with the head. Put the belt below the iliac crests. Those are the hip bones.

That will keep the belt from digging into your abdomen and causing paralysis by compression of your spinal cord. Wear the belt snugly. If you're in a wreck, there's a moment before the belt locking devices will work, and the belt itself will give slightly. Both allow for more forward movement of the body toward the windshield, dash, or other hard objects in the car. By wearing the belt snugly, this forward motion is reduced.

On another note, leaving children unattended in a vehicle violates the law and can be very dangerous. One study found that with the windows up and the outside temperature at 94 degrees, sunlight caused the inside to be at one hundred twenty-two degrees in thirty minutes and one hundred thirty-two degrees at one hour. Those temperatures can be severely damaging or fatal for children. Animals left in vehicles can suffer the same fate in a short time. Follow the law, and use common sense.

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