Modern cars are specifically designed to provide best possible protection for the driver and the passengers in case of a collision. Modern cars are fitted with interior safety devices such as airbags, automatic seatbelts and head restrains. In addition, the front and rear of a modern car are designed so that in case of a collision they bear most of the force of the collision at the same time protecting the space where the passengers are located.
Nevertheless, every year around 260 people are dying on Swedish roads. This is a tragic loss, and as a driver you should do all what depends on you in order to protect yourself and your passengers.
Fasten your seatbelt
Always fasten your seatbelt and make sure all your passengers have fastened theirs! It is your responsibility what happens to your passengers while you are driving. When fastening your seatbelt, make sure that it is as close to your body as possible. Make sure there is no thick layer of clothes or other objects between you and the seatbelt. If you are pregnant, it's twice as important that you use a seatbelt! At the late stages of pregnancy avoid driving yourself. This is because the airbag located in the steering wheel may be too close to your belly and may harm the child, if it inflates.
Never place a child seat where the airbag is enabled! The airbag fills in very quickly (only 0.15 sec) and may cause injuries if you are located too close to it. Therefore, when adjusting your seat (as a passenger) it is good to pull your seat all the way back. The airbag will be inflated only if the accident occurred when the speed of your vehicle was over 20-30 km/h.
Another important interior safety feature that needs to be properly adjusted is a head restraint. It is critical to have your head restraint’s height and angle adjusted for you because in case of an accident it helps preventing neck injury.
Child car seat
If you are carrying children in your vehicle you should familiarise yourself with the child safety rules. The best way to protect small children under the age of 4 is to place them in a backward facing baby seat. Make sure that the seat where baby seat is located is not protected with the airbag as it may injure the child when it inflates. The airbag in this case should be disconnected by professionals. It is possible to use a forward facing child seat for babies of 9 months and older. However, the safety features of this type of seats are inferior to the backward facing child seats. Therefore, it is recommended to use backward facing baby seats until the child turns 4. Children should use special child seats until they are about 10 years of age (this may vary depending on the size and height of the child). A general rule is that children under 140 cm of height should not travel on the front seat if the airbag is enabled.
Secure your load
Another way to protect yourself while driving is to take care of your load. In case of a collision, everything what is located in your car salon and trunk unsecured can fly and cause severe injuries to passengers. When you load your car, make sure all heavy objects are placed as far down as possible. Always tightly secure the load located in your trunk, use straps to prevent object flying in case of a crash.
Safety tips for new drivers
If you are a young inexperienced driver, here are some useful safety tips for you:
- Make sure all your passengers have fastened their seatbelts before moving off
- Secure your load
- Never compete with or provoke other road users
- Never drive if you have consumed alcohol or taken drugs
- Don’t let anyone distract you or provoke you to take risks or drive faster
- Avoid driving when tired or taking long journeys after a bad night sleep
- Do not use phone while driving! Even hands-free devices distract your attention from the road
- Watch out your speed! Keep it down. Remember that many serious accidents happen due to loss of control over the vehicle as a result of too high speeds.
- If you feel first signs of fatigue, make a break and have a rest.
- Always plan your trip in advance, allow enough time for your route and never rush! You will save only a few minutes and may risk lives.
- Never overtake if not confident and never take risks!
- If you feel unwell – do not drive
- Avoid driving at night. This is the time when many serious collisions happen.