Nationwide, car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens. Did you know two-thirds of teens killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts? In the event of a sudden stop or car crash, your seat belt is designed to keep YOU and EVERYONE else in the car in place. The fact is, if you are thrown from the vehicle you will not land on a pillow. You will likely land on asphalt, plummet into a pole, skid across pavement or get run over by another car. How do you prevent this from happening? It’s easy—click it!

The top five things to know about buckling up:

From 2004 to 2008, seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives—enough people to fill a large sports arena. If you are completely thrown from a vehicle during a crash, it is almost always fatal. If you do survive, it’s gonna hurt. Buckling up keeps you safe and secure inside your vehicle and can save your life—and your face. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, drowsy and distracted drivers.

Did you know that air bags open at a rate of 60 mph? If you are thrown directly into a rapidly opening air bag without any restraining help from your seat belt, the force could injure or even kill you. Seat belts are designed to work together with air bags—the seat belt secures the occupant and the air bag lessens the crash impact.Visit www.SaferCar.gov for more information on air bag safety.

The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the hip bones, across the chest and positioned at mid shoulder; these bones are more equipped to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body. Wearing BOTH your lap and shoulder belt is the best line of defense.

  • The head restraint should lie somewhere between the top of your ears and the top of your head.
  • Place the shoulder belt across your shoulder bone, down the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
  • Adjust the lap belt across your hips below your stomach.
  • NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
  • Before you buy a new car, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you.
  • If you’re short, ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters, which can help you get the best fit.
  • If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain a seat belt extender.
  • If you drive an older or classic car with no seat belts or lap belts only, check with your vehicle manufacturer about how to update your car with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.

For more information on teen driving safety, visit the Don’t Drive Stupid website.