Driving Car Interstate00000000

By WVUA 23 Reporter Michelle Fitzsimmons

Sitting in a car for long stretches can get uncomfortable, and too many people are under the impression that seat belts are a mere suggestion and not a requirement.

But according to researchers at the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety, people who don’t buckle up are 40 times more likely to die in a wreck than those who do.

“If you are not belted, you run the risk of being ejected,” said Rhonda Stricklin with CAPS. “If you’re in a serious crash and you have your seat belt on, you’re not going to be ejected.”

Those who are tossed out of a vehicle in the wake of a crash are more than 50 times as likely to die as someone who stays in the vehicle, Stricklin said.

The Click It or Ticket campaign is back up and running in Alabama for the start of the summer holiday, and is running for the next two weeks. Extra law enforcement will be out patrolling and ensuring drivers and their passengers are buckled up.

Even if you’re not planning on traveling far this weekend, wrecks can happen at any time.

“A majority of crashes really happen close to home, within 25 miles,” Stricklin said, which is counter-intuitive for those who believe they only need to buckle up on long trips. Not to mention, the likelihood of dying in a crash doubles for every 10 miles per hour you’re driving.

Stricklin said there are other things you can do to help avoid crashes, like slowing down, keeping enough distance between the car ahead of you and not driving distracted, drunk or exhausted, but the most important rule is also the easiest. Buckle up.

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