Wearing a seatbelt is one of the best ways to stay safe while driving. Tow truck drivers, though they drive a vehicle that’s high off the ground and seems rather indestructible, also need to wear their seatbelts. Sure, a tow truck might win a fight against a teensy little sedan or SUV, but a tow truck driver can still be seriously injured if they’re not wearing their seatbelt. Buckling up is also the law.
How do seatbelts prevent injuries and fatalities?
There are a few different ways that seatbelts work to protect drivers. Yes, it might seem like a flimsy little strap, but it’s so, so important when it comes to a driver walking away from a crash.
Seatbelts do the following:
- Prevent the driver from being thrown from the vehicle.
- A driver or passenger can be killed if they’re ejected from the vehicle.
- Shift the force of the crash to the strongest parts of the body over a wide area.
- Slow the body down.
- If there’s a crash at 30 mph, a person who isn’t wearing their seatbelt will fly forward and hit the windshield at 30 mph. An object in motion stays in motion – it’s physics.
- Protect the head and spinal cord.
Seatbelts help the driver maintain control of the truck.
Basically, seatbelts keep the driver in place while the vehicle takes the impact of the crash and comes to a stop. If the driver isn’t wearing their seatbelt, they can be tossed around inside the cab of the truck, and they could be thrown into the steering wheel, the gear shift, the windshield, the doors, or the roof.
If a driver’s wearing their seatbelt, being kept in place allows them to have greater control of the vehicle than if they get thrown out of place. This, in turn, lessens the chance of serious injury or death.
What about fire or water?
You might have heard people say that they don’t want to wear their seatbelt in case the truck goes into water or catches on fire. They worry that it will prevent them from escaping the vehicle.
However, if either of these things happen, the driver’s best chance is to be conscious and uninjured. The seatbelt will (hopefully) prevent serious injury or unconsciousness, and that makes chances of escape better. The driver needs to be able to react quickly.
To make sure that the seatbelts are working effectively and doing their job properly, the belt has to be adjusted for the driver. There should be no slack in the belt. It should not rub against the driver’s neck or stomach. It should fit snugly across the driver’s lap and across the body.
Another thing about seatbelts – don’t ditch the shoulder strap. Some people don’t like wearing the shoulder strap, but a lap belt isn’t always enough. Seatbelts were designed the way they were for a reason. The shoulder strap helps to send the force from the crash over a wider, stronger area of the body.
Also, the seatbelts in the truck need to be maintained so that they don’t get worn out. Keep an eye on the safety belt and take appropriate measures to replace or fix ones that aren’t working. A seatbelt that’s damaged or broken won’t be able to provide the protection that it’s supposed to.
If you’re in management at your towing business: Do you have a seatbelt policy?
To make sure that your drivers know how seriously you take seatbelts and safety, you can create an entire policy centered around seatbelt use. Everyone should be on the same page about your expectations and the dangers of not buckling up. You need to be pretty strict about enforcing this policy, and you also need to set a good example for everyone by being devoted to safety yourself.
A seatbelt policy is pretty straightforward and simple – buckle up!
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