Seat belts save lives, it is a simple message, but they are only effective if we use them correctly, they are useless as not wearing one at all.

The wearing of seat belts can reduce the risk of injury during a car crash. When used properly, they provide drivers and passengers with increased protection. However, when used improperly, their ability to provide this safety is compromised. Proper seat belt adjustments are necessary to allow the restraints to work effectively.

Wear a diagonal belt across the upper chest.

Drivers often complain that this strap is uncomfortable, and they sometimes slip this behind their backs or under the arm. However, when you do this, the belt’s ability to protect you from injury is decreased. Seat belts are designed to distribute force upon two areas of the body. Without this diagonal strap in place, this is impossible.

When you put your seat belt on you should make sure that it fits snugly to the body at the front, diagonally across the chest, and the waist, gently pulling the straps to make the necessary adjustments.

Although padded seat belt covers can make the wearing of the belt feel more comfortable, they can also reduce the effectiveness, which is also the case for padded clothing such as coats, and so these should be avoided. The seat belt needs to make as close a contact with your body at the key protection areas as possible.

In a vehicle, every occupant must wear a seat belt. If a car only has two seat belts fitted at the back seats, then it can only carry two people. Rear seats where three seat belts are fitted are the only acceptable way in which three passengers can be carried.

Children under 135cm in height are not allowed in the front seats, and even when in the back must wear an approved restraint suitable to their height and weight. It is not about the age of the child but their height and weight.

Check your seat belts.

You should perform regular checks on all the seat belts in your vehicle. Ensure that they fasten securely and that they can also be released when the button is pressed. Pull the seat belts to check that they lock in the event of force being applied, this way you can be sure that they will work if they are needed.

These checks form part of the ITV inspection and are to ensure the maximum safety for vehicle occupants. Seat belts save lives.