Yes, we’ve heard it again and again, seatbelts save lives and this is true if they are indeed used. There are however some precautions in the use and care of seatbelts which like any other part of your car is a simple machine that can indeed mean the difference between life and death in a crash. Now to begin with, statistics show that most injuries occur at slower speeds (too high the speed and even seatbelts cannot provide total safety without supplementary support from airbags and other active systems) and in the most unlikely places such as the parking lot where say the car backing up behind you miscalculates and hits you injuring your neck or smashing your face onto the dash or steering wheel. So even if you do not expect to go far and fast, just wear it so you are protected from such incidents.
If you do get into a crash while you were wearing your seatbelt (May it be at slow or fast speeds) have the seatbelts inspected (by a certified mechanic of course) for any damage. Since the belt itself retracts into the side of the car’s decorative moldings, there are several parts that need inspection after such an incident to assure you stay protected in the event of another crash. The restraining action of a seatbelt (which many of us hate for it wrinkles our clothes and causes streaks across your new white shirt) is done on purpose to prevent your body from getting thrown around in the event of a crash. It holds you against the seat (which is usually contoured against your body) providing maximum protection from a rear or frontal collision. Seatbelts can be quite effective in a frontal or rear collision, but with side impacts, not as effective without side collision airbags, reinforced doors and other supplemental restraint systems in most high end cars. The amount of material and space between you and the door is so small that yes you can be protected from a little force but at higher speeds, seatbelts may not be enough.
Ending this, these safety belts should be worn properly (which is stated on your owners manual) the lap belt on your hips or belt line and the shoulder strap across your torso. Placing it in other places defeats their restraining properties thus rendering them useless in the event of a crash. If you have children, adult seatbelts are not suited for them for they can easily slip through adult sized belts, consider getting child restraint systems such as a child seat or adapters that lowers the points at which the shoulder belt is in relation to the torso. Children are always safer at the rear rather than in front even with safety equipment. Also take into consideration that even the most expensive child restraint system if not properly installed would result in no protection at all for your child. Buckle-up for safety’s sake, for the life you save can be your own. (Tip: Want to know the actual production year of your vehicle, check out the driver’s side seatbelt which should have a tag sewn onto it having the said information) Drive Safe, Wear your Seatbelts.