Seat belts save lives. It’s a phrase that we overhear quite a bit, but what does it mean?

Over the course of the last century, there have been countlessĀ advances in technology. In the automotive industry specifically, innovations in safety continue to progress rapidly.

Auto safety has evolved from basic seatbelts to high-tech safety features that can help drivers avoid accidents altogether. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), today’s vehicles are the safest in history and have contributed to year-over-year decreases in crash-related fatalities and injuries nationwide.

Even still, the US Department of Health and Human Services warns that motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S. In fact, the organization found that more than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as a result of injuries related to motor vehicle crashes in 2012.Teen Driving

While itā€™s nearly impossible to predict when an accident might take place, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of injury or death should one occur. Below are 12 important seatbelt safety reminders:

1. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. (www.cdc.gov)

2. Wear the lap belt low across the hips and below your stomach.

3. Pregnant women still need to wear their seatbelt. Click here to learn more about proper positioning while pregnant.

4. Always buckle up before driving or riding in a car. This goes for everyone in the vehicle, whether you’re sitting in the front or the back.

5. Wear the shoulder belt over your collarbone, away from your neck. It should cross over your chest. In most new cars, you can adjust shoulder belts to improve their height and fit.

6. A seat belt that works properly will keep you at a safe distance from the dashboard and the airbag.

7. Children under 13 should not sit in the front passenger seat. Click here to learn more about child passenger safety.

8. Air bags provide added protection but are not a substitute for seat belts. Air bags plus seat belts provide the greatest protection for adults.

9. A lap and shoulder belt provides the best protection for your children and should be used on every ride.

10. Be sure children pass the Safety Belt Fit Test.

11. Child safety seats, when used correctly, can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.

12. Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat.

The importance of seat belt safety cannot be overstated. Before embarking on an epic road trip, safety should be the first factor of consideration. Has a seat belt saved your life? We would love to hear from you. Share your story with our team in the comment section below.