Driving down the road, wind blowing in my hair, great tunes setting the mood right…..but then I realize something doesn’t feel right!? Oh GAWD….I’m NAKED!!
Now hold on, hold on….its not what you think! But I gotchya to read it didn’t I!? I forgot to put my seat belt on! (What were YOU thinking!?) I went out quick the other night to grab a pizza, and coming home that was the exact scene. Jumped in, took off and something didn’t feel right, and realized I didn’t put my seat belt on. It dawned on me that it was really weird, that I felt like I was driving naked!!
For most people, it is a no brain-er. You get in the car and you put on your seat belt before going anywhere. This wasn’t always the case for me. Up until a few years ago, I never wore my seat belt. Never thought it was worth it. Yes, I was taught in driver’s school that you had to wear your seat belt, but once I got my license, I never or rarely did.
Here is my back story. I lost my mother in a car accident when I was 14 years old. It was a somewhat normal Ontario Saturday morning in December, and there was a storm causing white out conditions. Her car went off the road, and onto its roof upside down in a river. It took hours for anyone to notice her car. The police later said to us, that she had her seat belt on, and it hindered her escape of the car. So to me, seat belts did not equal safety, they meant an interference and something that killed my Mom. So once I was old enough to drive, I rarely wore my seat belt. Why should I? It didn’t help save my mother. I even ditched my car when I was around 21, no seat belt on but came away unscathed, still hadn’t learned my lesson.
Fast forward the years till I was 24. I was pregnant! Carrying a baby inside me. Something clicked that made me instinctively put my seat belt on. I wanted to protect myself in order to protect my baby. So I thought to myself, I will wear my seat belt until I have my baby. Then once our daughter was born, out of habit I would mostly wear my seat belt. I started to realize that I did feel safe with one on. That by wearing a seat belt, was more often that not, the safest thing to do.
In a study done by Transport Canada, it was estimated that 11,690 lives were saved by seat belts over the eleven-year period of 1990-2000. Those lives were saved by just buckling up! In Canada 95.3% people in vehicles buckle up (based on a Transport Canada Survey of Seat Belt Use 2011). Also, more women than men wear seat belts – 96% compared to 94%.
So I am one to follow trends, be in the majority. I now ALWAYS wear my seat belt. I realized a few years back that seat belt or not, the chances of my Moms survival that day was small. I was being defiant and wanting to add blame for my losses. I know now, that you are always safer with your belt on vs. not.
Back to my “naked driving”, it really set me back a second to realize how unnatural it now felt to not have a seat belt on. How wrong it felt after all the years of not having worn one. And what a 360 I had done in 5 years of driving. I write this post in hopes that YOU wear your seatbelt, and if you are an occasional seat belt wearer, that this makes you think and possibly buckle up more often than not.
This past Monday, September 24th, the OPP launched their fall Seatbelt Campaign as announced on several media outlets including Ottawa’s All News Radio 1310AM. Across Ontario, OPP will be on the look for those not wearing their seat belt. Also looking at child car seat safety, speeders and distracted drivers. Get caught without a seat belt and you could receive a $240.00 ticket. This campaign runs until October 6, 2012
Be safe everyone! There are enough dangers on the roads, at least this one you can help protect yourself with!