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Step one:  Go to Your Vehicle.  Step two: Get in The Vehicle.  Step three:  Fasten Your Seatbelt.  Step Four: Now read this blog to make sure you did it right! 

As an adult, we get in and quickly buckle up (or like many,  we remember to buckle up when they pass a squad car, a wreck, or see a “Click It or Ticket” Variable Message Sign or (VMS) on the highway).  Nobody’s perfect, but most Tennesseans do know that it’s the law to wear a seatbelt all the time while driving and that seatbelts can save lives and prevent injuries but only if they are used– properly.

Yet for many, after they safely secure their children in a car or booster seat, they get in the front seat and  buckle up with little thought as to “did I just buckle up the right way.” 

You cannot assume that just because you’re an adult and that you heard the “click” that you’re safe.  Truth be told, adults should be just as concerned about  whether they are properly restrained just as much as they are for their children.  “There are so many people out ‘cruising for a bruising’,” say Lead Personal Injury Attorney, Rocky McElhaney of the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm.  “Your seatbelt can actually cause you more injury if worn improperly in the event of a collision be it minor or more serious.”  McElhaney continues, “Seatbelts need be in the right position on everyone in a vehicle to be effective and safe- not just your little, mini-me’s.”

Your lap belt must be worn low and snug across the hips with the shoulder portion snug against the chest. Once the straps are in the correct position tighten up any slack that has been created while making the adjustment so the belt fits snuggly.

Refrain from excessively reclining the seat.  Do not put the shoulder portion behind your back or under your arm, or hold the shoulder portion away from your body.  These bad habits reduce the seatbelt’s effectiveness and create an increased risk of injuries, severed limbs and even decapitation. Additionally, if the lap belt is loose enough to rise up to the stomach area, it can cause severe internal injuries if you are involved in crash.  If your vehicle has an adjustable seatbelt restraint system, make sure it is adjusted to keep belts away from your face and neck. Many modern cars have adjustments that allow you to change the geometry of the belts – particularly the shoulder belt. Consult your owner’s manual to determine if your vehicle has this feature and make sure you have made proper adjustments for maximum safety and comfort.

The following are some additional seatbelt facts that might dismiss misconceptions adults have about their seatbelt use that we found at

  • Airbags alone are only 42 percent effective at providing protection. The absolute best combination for adults riding in a car is a lap-shoulder belt with an airbag.
  • Check all the seatbelts in your car periodically for breaks, frays, looseness and workability. It will cost you far less to fix a broken seatbelt than it will cost if you’re in a serious accident with a broken belt.
  • Most accidents occur during the day so buckle up and practice driving safety at work.
  • One person to a seatbelt; never double people up.
  • Pregnant women always need to wear their seatbelts. It will not in any way hurt your unborn baby. In fact, if you’re in an accident, wearing your seatbelt properly is the best way to protect the life in your belly. Always wear the lap belt under the belly and the shoulder strap situated at between the breast pulling it down toward the anchor via the top right side of the belly.  Utilize your seat controls to perfect the proper angles for the restraints to cross your body.

If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved in a car wreck that was caused by another driver’s carelessness, or a defective seatbelt mechanism, call the experienced and diligent auto accident, wrongful death, and defective product liability attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm for a free consultation.  We don’t get paid until we obtain a recovery for you so there is nothing to lose by making a call and finding out how we can help.  (615) 425-2500 We fight for you!