Inside the Belgian ‘Tumbling Car’

Posted on March 5th, 2013 by James Luckhurst

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 09.27.18A properly fitted seatbelt can truly be a lifesaver in the event of an accident. Watch Good Motoring editor James Luckhurst being subjected to a lot of unpleasant ‘tumbling’ in a demonstration car operated by the Belgian Road Safety Authority.

When there is a car crash, the car, its contents and the passengers decelerate rapidly. They experience great forces because of the change in momentum, which can cause injury. Seat belts stop you tumbling around inside the car if there is a collision. However, they are designed to stretch a bit in a collision. This increases the time taken for the body’s momentum to reach zero, so reduces the forces on it.

Pull the seat belt out from its holder, across your body, and slip the buckle into place until it clicks. Give the seat belt a gentle tug to make sure it is fastened securely.

Adjust the shoulder harness so that it is situated correctly across your torso. It should be snug across the chest but not near the neck or face. Sit upright in the seat and adjust the seat until the seatbelt fits as it should. Children may require booster seats for the belt to fit as intended.

Adjust the lap belt so that it lies low across the hips–not the stomach. In an accident, the hip bones can safely handle more force than your internal organs.

Wear both the shoulder strap and the lap belt. Do not place the shoulder strap behind you or under your arm. The lap belt might prevent you from being ejected, but it won’t prevent your head or upper body from hitting the dashboard or steering wheel. A shoulder harness worn alone won’t prevent you from sliding out beneath it.