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Seat belt phobia

I have a friend who won’t wear a seatbelt because he knew someone who was in a wreck and burned to death when unable to release the seatbelt.

I do not nag at him, figuring any argument is a no win situation. But I would welcome suggestions how I might reasonably change the mind of a fifty-ish man certain seatbelts are a death trap and that airbags will always save him???

…still reading, still learning…

It is extremely difficult to change the mind of somebody who has already convinced himself of something, especially if his decision is based on faulty assumptions. The only thing I can suggest is to tell him that he MUST use the seatbelt when he rides in your car, and then…stick to your guns.

My rule is, The car doesn’t move until everyone is belted in.


Not much you can do but ask him to buckle up if he rides with you or you don’t go anywhere. You could tell him to use Google and hope he finds the right information. Just the thought of going forward in a crash while the air bag is coming at him is disturbing.

Does he watch any car racing like NASCAR or IMSA ?
Belts are exactly THE reason that drivers can just hop out and walk away.
I guess he’d have to ride with me for a mile or so.
I train my ignorant riders by slamming on the brake as if to avoid someone or something getting in the way.
After that first time flying off their seat . . they get it.

I even have stories of my diving incidents which were NOT a wreck . .at all . . because being belted allowed me unrestricted full control of the vehicle to avoid the potential .

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Yep, hard to be logical with someone that’s not. It’s a fact that they’re half as likely to die or be seriously injured if they wear their belt, according to the CDC:

I’d worry about being in the same car with an unbelted passenger OR driver. In an accident they’ll become a human projectile, likely to injure ME!

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Recently my seat belt saved my life when I was hit by a driver high on meth going 60 mph!

Give him one of those tools that can cut through a seat belt.

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@Marnet I would not bother; just don not EVER ;et him ride in your car or ride with him when he’s driving.

He has cooperated buckling up in my car the few times he rode with me. I have the absolute rule of doing so for anyone in my car.

But when driving his vehicles he doesn"t wear a seatbelt.

Doubt I can change his mind but hope someday he will grasp that the odds of being trapped by a seatbelt are negligable compared to injury from not being secured.

I keep seeking a way to broach the subject without instead making him more convinced of his notion.

It is a concern. I know some safety guru saying one should keep a short knife handy, a knife that is capable of cutting the belt. Maybe that would help your friend’s anxiety.

We have an uncle that would not buckle the belt, rather hold it close with one hand and drive with the other. His logic is that he never wore a seat belt in the old country and is still alive. He holds it down so he won’t get a ticket. He rode in my car once, I grabbed the belt and jammed in in place, told him it is my car and we are doing it my way, he didn’t say anything and I have heard that he has quietly changed his way.

Atleast he complies in your car. In his car, his rules.

My car will ding for a minute or two when someone isn’t buckled up in the front seats.

I’m with VDC. My car doesn’t move until everyone is belted. In Minnesota, its the driver’s responsibility so the driver can be sited if people aren’t buckled up if I need an excuse. And I’m one that probably avoided serious injury when my 59 VW was T boned and there were no belts in the car then. I just slid over in the seat as the side was collapsed. Had I had a seat belt on, my hip would have taken the full force with nowhere to go. Still my dad and I were always big on seat belts when they became available but had to work on my mom some.

The more mild method I use is the – ‘‘no belt , no go’’ –
And to stress this point even more . . when we’re all first hopping in the truck, I start the engine.
Then . . if someone does not buckle when I tell them to ?
turn OFF the engine !
take out the keys and . . .
and . .sit . .

@ken_green. Yep, I have done that too.

Only exception I have ever made was for a friend in the final two years of her life after she had a particular surgery that left her unable to safely wear a seatbelt and have the pressure of it at normal use against her body. She actually had a medical letter she carried and her drivers license had a special medical exemption noted on it.

I know 2 people that were t-boned, and officers said they would have died if they had had their seat belt on, one with minor injuries and the other suffered a broken hip. I had a head on at 45 mph, no officer light was green I turn left and he hit me. Scrape on forehead from busting windshield, sprained little finger and bruised knee from light knob.
Don’t know how many were saved by seatbelts, Guessing the odds are in favor of seat belt wearers.

The person in the car fire was probably injured enough that even with out a seat belt they could not have got out of the car under their own power. You can only hope they were unconscious before the fire started.

+1 to VDC, when a person has their mind made up they will refuse to let logic or facts get in the way. I know someone that said they do not wear seat belts because if their arms are broken they could not unfasten them to get out. They could not understand that they would not be able to open the door with broken arms either!

WalMart sells a nifty tool that has a seat belt cutter and window breaker for about $15.00
SwissTech-ST81005-BodyGard-ESC-. Don’t waste time with the ones that have a hammer, you cannot get enough swing to break the glass. A letter opener works nice on seat belts also.

Good link discussing seat belts and air bags, which do not always deploy, an air bag without a seat belt can do more harm than good.

Years ago, when I was a teenager and had a summer job, I worked at the local officer’s club. I was supposed to help the regular employees, and that included going along with them to pick supplies up.

When we had loaded the supplies up, and we were seated, I was wondering why the guy wasn’t driving off. He just looked at me and said “Buckle up” and nothing else. As soon as I buckled up, he left, and that was the end of it. He didn’t explain anything, he didn’t lecture me. I guess it was his rules.

There’s no rational reason, but it stuck. I’ve never driven on public roads without a seatbelt. Our work compound is very much like an army base, and I sometimes drive unbuckled on the premises. I’ve got no excuse, but we’re only allowed to go 15mph maximum. Needless to say, not everybody obeys the speed limit

My brother’s wife is very well educated. She’s an MD, and has a school-age son. Yet she has a nasty habit of driving unbuckled. When I’m driving, and she’s in the car, she also tries to get away with it. If I see that she’s unbuckled, I say “We’re not going anywhere until you’re buckled up. You should know better.” She just laughs, and lifts her butt up, and buckles in. She has a strange habit of actually sitting on the seat belt. Doesn’t seem very comfortable :crying_cat_face:

Giving them that tool as a gift might be a great way to eliminate their excuse.

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But then the dope might leave it in the trunk, where he can’t get to it, when he’s stuck in his burning car. It should be within easy reach, if it’s going to do you any good. Center console would be a good place

I’ve got mine in the drivers door pocket but now you’ve got me thinking about that little hammer thing on the end of it. I never expect to have to use either one but there’s lots of stuff I have that I never expect to use, like the fire extinguishers. Come to think of it I did use that once welding on my car door. Glad I had it.

Hmmm think I will buy three tools. One for my car for me. One for my friend’s wife’s car and one for his truck. Might not change his thinking and habit but I will have done what I can.

Thanks everyone for the helpful feedback.

Everyone stay safe and may God bless you.