How to wear seatbelts without feeling choked? A simple guide to safety essential

Seatbelts have long been established as the most essential safety equipment in a car. But many complain they feel suffocated. Here is some help.
By : Shubhodeep Chakravarty
| Updated on: 16 Sep 2022, 11:06 AM
Seatbelts are essential - and enforced by law - for driver and all passengers inside a moving vehicle.
Seatbelts are essential - and enforced by law - for driver and all passengers inside a moving vehicle.
Seatbelts are essential - and enforced by law - for driver and all passengers inside a moving vehicle.
Seatbelts are essential - and enforced by law - for driver and all passengers inside a moving vehicle.

Wearing a seatbelt is the easiest and most-effective way to ensure maximum safety and protection in case of an unfortunate incident on the road. But while this simple practice of buckling up is well established as a key safety and precautionary measures, many still choose to ignore it when traveling. There are countless studies and practical instances that prove that seatbelts prevent serious injuries and even fatalities and wearing these as a matter of habit ought to be enforced rigorously.

One of the reasons, however, that many cite for choosing to not wear seatbelts is that they tend to experience a sense of suffocation when buckled in. Unlike a seatbelt inside an aircraft which goes over the pelvic area alone, a car seatbelt is a Y-shaped belt - also called a three-point seatbelt - that has a strap coming in across the chest to lock the upper half of the body in place in case of sudden braking. This prevents the body from either hitting against the dashboard or worse, flying out. Even rear-seat passengers are prevented from hitting the back of the front seats in case of a frontal impact.

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Here are some easy tips, tricks and tweaks to ensure that those who may feel suffocated can still wear seatbelts in a safe manner:

How to wear seatbelt without feeling suffocated?
Step 1 :

Always sit as upright on the car seats as is possible. This ensures that the seatbelt comes across the chest rather than passing across the throat area. 

Step 2 :

For drivers and passengers who aren't too tall, adjusting the seat height can often help ensure the seatbelt is placed comfotably across the upper half of the body. Adjust the seat height either upwards or downwards to ensure comfort but also check drive convenience in such a case.

Step 3 :

Most modern-day vehicles come with an adjustment point on the B pillar for the seatbelts. Figure if your car has it and play around with its position till you get a perfect fit for the seatbelt around you.

Step 4 :

Purchase a seatbelt wrap cushion. While not a guarantee of comfort, many feel soft-touch materials of such products prevents the feeling of being strapped in too tight.

It is very important to note here that wearing a seatbelt is crucial but it is more crucial to wear a seatbelt properly. Do not slip your arm under and around the seatbelt because this defeats the purpose of wearing one in the first place. Do not buy extension devices for seatbelt and remember, it is not a good idea for a seatbelt to have slack when strapped in and locked into place. Ensure that you wear a seatbelt before starting off. This is most applicable for the driver who otherwise has to take hands off the steering to wear the belt. And perhaps the most important bit is to avoid falling prey to the misconception that one does not require a seatbelt if moving at a low speed. If a car is in motion, a seatbelt is a must.

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First Published Date: 16 Sep 2022, 11:06 AM IST
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