Using a seat belt is a mandatory measure when moving around in a private vehicle. Regardless of the distance we are going to travel and the road we are going to travel on, the driver and passengers must make use of the appropriate protection systems, depending on their age and physical condition.
The basic protection system for adults is the seat belt, while children need an adequate Child Restraint System, based on a chair suitable for the child’s weight and age, with demanding restraint systems.
All of this is specified in article 117 of the General Traffic Regulations, which is mandatory.
Is a seat belt mandatory, always?
The Regulation includes exemptions in its article 119. These are:
- When we perform parking and/or reversing maneuvers
- Persons provided with a certificate of exemption for serious medical reasons or disabled. In addition, as long as it is circulated by town, they will be exempt from taking it:
- Taxi drivers on their working hours. In addition, they will be able to transport, in their rear seats, people who do not reach 135 cm without approved restraint devices, as long as the circulation is in the city.
- People traveling in emergency vehicles, including the driver
- People who accompany a student during their learning to drive or during the aptitude test, being in charge of the additional controls of the car.
- Merchandise distributors, when they are carrying out successive loading and unloading operations in places that are a short distance from each other.
Any other case not included in these exemptions must use the seat belt in a mandatory way, facing possible sanctions and serious health consequences in case of not complying with it.
How should the belt be worn?
Correct use of the seat belt is essential for it to be truly effective. To do this, we must attend to a series of recommendations that will allow it to be fixed to the body and improve its function. Among them, the following stand out:
Make sure it fits snugly against the body
Although it should not be too annoying, the seat belt must fit properly to our trunk. To do this, once tied, we must tighten it to the maximum. In this way, we will prevent our body from moving in the event of a collision, thus preventing possible blows and impacts.
To achieve a better fit, we should avoid placing it over coats and / or other bulky garments that can create space between the belt and our body and create the underwater effect that our body slips underneath in a collision.
Check for possible snags and / or bends
The belt must remain smooth and stretched , so we must correct any possible snagging or bending. In this way, we will prevent it from interfering with its protective functionality.
We should not put anything under your clip type tape, since we would give the belt slack and in the event of an accident we would collide with the steering wheel before the belt did its job.
Adjust it correctly to our body
The belt will be properly adjusted when its top is above the midway point between the shoulder and the neck . In this way, we will avoid possible injuries in the event of a crash due to sudden braking. The arm closest to the hitch must remain above the belt, while the other arm must remain below.
It should be placed on our trunk diagonally, and on our hips horizontally .
The seat should form a right angle
In this way, we will achieve that the seat belt fits optimally to our body, improving its protective function in the event of a collision and / or accident.
Different types of retention elements for different needs
In some cases, it is necessary to adapt restraint systems to the physical condition of the travelers.
In the case of children , the child restraint elements must consist of a chair adapted to the age and / or height of the child, depending on what the regulations establish.
Pregnant women , on the other hand, can use adapted belts that avoid impacts in the stomach area in case of blockage. This type of belt must be approved and meet the requirements established by law.
All these recommendations are of vital importance when driving, as they can save our lives in the event of an accident. Wearing the seatbelt incorrectly can produce the so-called underwater effect , which causes the body to move through its lower part and exposes us to serious damage, as well as many other dangerous consequences for our health.