To what extent does not wearing a seat belt constitute a danger to other drivers?

Wearing a seat belt helps a driver maintain control of a vehicle during evasive maneuvers and after a collision. Or so says the internet. It makes sense to me. But I’m wondering if anyone has attempted to quantify how much of a difference it makes. It seems hard to measure, especially re: evasive maneuvers. For accidents, I suppose we could look at the number of cars that hit another car after being hit, but I’m not sure if those data are collected anywhere.

I’m less interested in general safety to the 1st driver, or in avoiding projectile people incidents.

If you go through your windshield and crack theirs, it will obstruct their vision.

The number of situations where an erratic car causes problems, but a bit better control would prevent it, is few and far between. Most accidents are primary collisions, and the odds someone will have the chance to control their vehicle to prevent a secondary collision, but only if wearing a seatbelt, and without trying to see through an airbag, are probably miniscule. (I.e. if you roll your car or bounce off another car, you probably do not have any control left in the extremely short time to avoid a secondary crash).

Thinking of all the crashes I’ve seen or heard of, very few would fit the bill for needing control in the last second to avoid even more damage. If the driver were that alert and quick witted, they wouldn’t be in a collision in the first place, seatbelt or not.

The idea is to avoid the impact alltogether.

Try this, go to a closed course for sports cars and drive agressivelly with the seat belt on. Next try it without the seat belt off. You will slip around in your seat without the seatbelt. You will most likely note the loss of control on your part.

A trail for 4X4 rigs would work for this experiment as well.

If the rig has form molded seats, there is much less slipping.

Here’s a good example:

I’m two-clicking this car crash video because it’s not 100% clear to me that there wasn’t a fatality.

dashcam video shows a driver falling asleep at the wheel, then struggling to maintain control of the vehicle, in large part because he’s also struggling to hold himself in the driver’s seat.

This appeared to be a single-vehicle crash, but it’s not hard to imagine a post-impact scenario in which a driver is unable to avoid secondary impacts because he’s unable to control his vehicle (due to having been seriously/fatally injured, or displaced from the driver’s seat).

That’s the $64,000 question - how often does a crash result in a vehicle that is still controllable, and that an average driver would be able to and needed to safely steer out of harms way?

Countless times. I for one was rear ended while at a standing stop making a left by a truck going about 60 mph and was thrown into oncoming traffic. Airbags don’t go off in a rear end collision and I was able to steer out of the path of oncoming cars and bring the vehicle to a safe stop. If I hadn’t of had my seat belt on I most likely would have died in a head on collision. I know because the other driver froze and she thanked me for getting out of her path.

I’ve done quite a few track days and disagree. If the only thing holding you in the seat during maneuvering is the seat-belt, you’re doing something wrong, at least in tis era of bucket seats. You should be able to maintain your position at the controls without them if you’ve got the seat and steering wheel adjusted properly, especially since sports car seats tend to be bolstered to hold you in place.

I disagree. My last sports car pulled .88 g’s in a turn. There are 1 g sports cars out there but for arguments sake what I experienced should suffice. With or without seat belts there was no difference in driving the car.

Modern seat belts are passive and not meant to hold you in your seat when driving. they go active upon rapid deceleration. 1960’s seat belts actually tightened in place like a race car harness or an aviation harness.

There is no safety advantage to other drivers. The advantage is purely financial as it should save other drivers on their insurance rates.

You wouldn’t receive a head injury from a rear end collision. Now if you had a head on collision and steered backwards that would have made a difference. BTW, I hit somebody at 60 mph and he didn’t have a seat belt on. Not a scratch on him.

Not necessarily true. I hit my forehead on the sunvisor and was taken to the hospital for a slight concussion; could have been from slamming on my brakes really hard. But the car wasn’t even totaled is was really pissed me off, $15K of only rear end damage and they claimed the car was worth $32K. Still :mad: about that.

I used to drive a Cadillac with a bench seat in front, and either high quality vinyl or really shiny leather. If I took a hard left turn and didn’t have my seat belt on, I’d have been in the passenger seat. This would make it difficult to steer and reach the brakes, among other things. Modern bucket seats probably mitigate a lot of this, but it still freaks me out when I see people driving without seat belts on. Hell, I put mine on when I’m just going to maneuver my car in the driveway…

I have been corrected by some folks who have more experience then I in modern sports cars. I would have to agree with them regarding a modern sports car. However, did I say to drive a modern sports car? No, I ASSuMEd that they would drive their grocery getter. My mistake!

Modern cars with bucket seats do better then any car with a bench seat. I did this test with a 1965 Ford Falcon with a bench seat, then again with a 1942 “army Jeep” a GPW for those that want to know.

I guess that I do not see the advantage to not wearing a seat belt. If it saves your life once, is it not worth wearing all the time? Why are we asking about the other driver? Most folks are more concerned about themselves then some abstract “other driver”. I do not get this. Seat belts also save you from injury. I prefer to not do a faceplant on the steering wheel in an accident. YMMV.

As you have guessed by now, I always use the seat belt. I find that the shoulder harness often cuts into my neck. On those rigs, I put the shoulder harness under my arm. (I would rather have a few broken ribs than a broken neck!) It is slightly uncomfortable, but my life is worth a little discomfort.

I used to drive wrecker for a wrecking yard. Trust me, seat belts save lives! When air bags first came out I was amazed at what wrecks were now survivable.

Many years ago I had a 1972 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, lovely old car. I was taking one of my dogs (a Rottweiler) to the park for a hike and on the way, and on a down-hill, the person in front of me had no brake lights and when he stopped hard, I stopped extra hard. The back windows were down and my poor dog slid across the slick leather seats and shot straight out of the window into oncoming traffic. :eek:

Luckily he was fine, I didn’t hit the old gent in front of me, nobody hit anybody else and ultimately no harm was done besides some minor road rash on the Rottweiler (who still felt fine enough to continue on and take our hike.)

But still: Buckle in all adults, children or pets.

I think this was the preface to a common argument in the US: that we should be allowed to do anything, no matter how blatantly stupid, as long as the only risk is to ourselves. It’s frequently rolled out for helmet law arguments.

Personally, I’d be willing to drop seatbelt laws for a society where texting, talking on the phone and DUI were enforced with the same rigor as, say, DWB.

Driver A not wearing a seat belt could mean that Driver B faces manslaughter charges rather than facing an angry Driver A. That represents a real danger for Driver B.

Nobody (in this thread, at least) has suggested there is an advantage to not wearing a seat belt.

Because that’s the subject of the OP.

Everyone knows it’s safer for the driver, so I wasn’t interested in that.

I think all safety devices of any kind should be removed from all cars. There be no such thing as any insurance that deals with cars or death by or in cars.
All drivers are suggested to be armed because there is a 5 minute, free time after any collision for a gun fight with no charges ever filed.

That should reduce accidents to about 1 per day for the entire country. :smiley:

The first thing I see people do is take more risks after they put on safety gear.

YMMV Bawahahaha

This attitude is why my family was actually upset when I bought my first motorcycle helmet back in '78 - they took it as evidence crazy antics would ensue.:rolleyes:

Remember that safety is subjective and somewhat generational. People now drive regularly at speeds thought insane eighty years ago, and you’ll regularly encounter people on car forums that think anything pre-airbags/abs to be a death trap because they’re young enough to not remember cars that didn’t have those features.

It is frequent that auto collisions will involve the same vehicle being struck multiple times, such as a freeway domino rear-ender series. If you are hit multiple times, the injury from the first collision is likely to be less because you are seated correctly.