Automobiles have become an essential part of all of our lives. With the high number of motor vehicles on the road, accidents occur on a daily basis, and sometimes they turn fatal. Nonetheless, fatalities are linked to the lack of safety seat belt usage which causes the driver or passenger to be ejected from the vehicle during a severe accident.

However, some accidents do happen when people are in fact wearing seat belts and could still be fatally injured. One of the ways this could happen is seat belt submarining. What is that you may ask? Well read on to find out!

What Is Seat Belt Submarining?

Seat belt submarining happens when the strong effects of a car accident causes a person to slide from underneath the lap restraint part of a seat belt. The two most common reasons for seat belt submarining are the sudden loss of momentum in a car during an accident and defective seat cushions that slide out from under a passenger. In some cases, the crash is so severe that the crash victim ends up being propelled out of the vehicle.

Injuries Linked to Seat Belt Submarining

There are a plethora of injuries that could be caused by seat belt submarining. The nature of the collision and the fact that when a person slides from under their seatbelt, there isn’t anything holding them in place or protecting them is why this accident often leads to serious injuries  The most common injuries include internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, abdominal injuries, and bone fractures. It’s paramount to understand that these injuries could happen in both high-speed and low-speed collisions.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to seek immediate medical attention should you find yourself or a loved one in this dire situation. The faster the injuries are tended to by a professional, the higher the chances are for recovery.

How to Prevent Submarining

So, is not wearing a seat belt a solution for submarining? According to Morgantown car accident lawyer Jeff Robinette, “Even if the other driver’s negligence was the sole cause of the accident, you still bear some responsibility for the severity of your injuries because you were not wearing a seat belt.” So the key is wearing the seatbelt at all times when in a moving motor vehicle, but you need to practice caution and fully inspect your seat belt before riding.

The companies that manufacture seats and seat belts are well aware of the huge risk of injuries that could arise from seat belt submarining. Therefore, there have been many precautions taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the case of an accident.

The main safety feature update has to do with the seats themselves. Seat cushions have been run through numerous tests to improve on their design and provide a safer shield that prevents submarining during accidents or sudden stops. Additionally, the seat belt buckle’s height has been adjusted, preventing the lap restraint portion from being positioned too high.

Proper Use of a Car Seat Belt

As a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of submarining. The main thing to do upon sitting in a vehicle is to check the lap restraint and if it fits securely. When it comes to children, you need to make sure that any child that is below the recommended height for car seat belts is placed in a booster or child seat as the risks of submarining are higher for little kids.

When you put on the seat belt, the lap restraint needs to rest snugly on your pelvis, right under your stomach. The upper part of the seat belt needs to rest on your shoulder with your arm behind it and not press on your neck. If the seat belt is too loose or doesn’t fit you properly, you should try to adjust it at first, if that doesn’t work then you can look into purchasing an after-market restraint and having it installed.