How Much Do You Know About Safety Belts?

These 20 questions can determine how up-to-speed you are on safety belt use. Test your knowledge and increase your safety IQ by answering True or False:

  1. False
    About 79 percent of Americans report that they consistently wear safety belts.
  2. True
    In 2002, more than 14,000 lives were saved because safety belts were used.
  3. False
    For those in the front seat, wearing a lap/shoulder safety belt reduces the risk of death by 45 percent and the risk of injury by 50 percent.
  4. True
    The center of the headrest should be slightly above the top of your ear. Adjustable headrests should be positioned 2 to 4 inches from the back of your head. Closer is better.
  5. False
    Safety belts keep you in the optimal position to benefit from the protection of air bags.
  6. True
    Safety belts also protect you from being ejected from the vehicle.
  7. True
  8. True
    In a collision, a safety belt fastened under your arms could break a rib or cause serious internal injuries.
  9. False
    An air bag can activate during a front or head-on collision with impact of only 8 to 12 mph.
  10. False
    Drivers should sit at least 10 to 12 inches from the front air bag. Passengers should sit at least 15 to 18 inches from the front air bag on the passenger side.
  11. True
    Pick-up trucks and newer vehicles without back seats are equipped with an on-off switch for the front passenger seat. Consumers may choose to have an on-off switch installed on front air bags. There are three reasons to do this:
    • You are not able to adjust your driving position to 10 inches away from the steering wheel.
    • Your doctor can document a medical condition that makes the air bag a risk that outweighs the protection it provides.
    • You must transport children under the age of 13 in the front passenger seat.
  12. True
    Most crashes causing injury or death occur within 25 miles from home at speeds less than 40 mph.
  13. True
    Properly worn safety belts reduce fatigue by supporting an upright position. You should sit back and upright in your seat, wearing the lap belt as low as possible, snugly across upper thighs.
  14. False
    If passengers are belted, they are less likely to be thrown against you, causing you to lose control.
  15. False
    Pregnant women and their unborn children are safer when they wear lap and shoulder belts. In cold weather, pregnant women should not fasten safety belts over several layers of clothing. This can cause the belt to creep up and cause internal injury in a crash. Expectant mothers should warm up the vehicle, unbutton outer clothing and pull the lap belt snugly over as few layers of clothing as possible.
  16. True
    In a crash, the safest place to be in a vehicle is in the middle of the rear seat. Car crashes lead all other causes of injury and death for children and adolescents. Even at slow speeds, sudden stops and turns may injure children.
  17. True
    Using properly installed child restraints is the law in all 50 states. A locking clip may be required to safely install a child safety seat in your car. Check your owner's manual.
  18. True
    As few as 12 consistent repetitions can establish the habit of wearing a safety belt. It also helps to announce your intention so friends and family can remind you. Also consider posting a reminder on your instrument panel.
  19. False
    All passengers are required to have shoulder belts in the back seat. Dealers can retrofit older vehicles.
  20. False
    Unrestrained passengers have been killed at speeds below 12 mph.

Return to questions.

Five Pointers for Finding the Right Fit:

  • Pull your lap/shoulder belt across you body snugly.
  • Make sure the lap portion of the belt is low across hips and the shoulder portion comes across your sternum and collarbone.
  • To take up any slack, pull the lap belt across your lap toward the lap belt retractor.
  • Adjust the tension if there is any pressure against your chest. Pull down slightly on the shoulder belt and let go.
  • Front seat lap/shoulder belt systems allow you to move enough to adjust controls but will lock during a sudden stop or impact. The lap belt should fit snugly across your upper thighs. Your forward hip movement should be limited.