Car Safety Belt

The car safety belt is one of the most effective life saving devices ever invented. This simple arrangement of fabric straps and buckles saves thousands of lives every day around the world. It also saves many more people from serious injury by stopping them from hitting part of the car during an accident. The car safety belt is also called a seat belt, seat restraint or safety harness. There are many different types but the most common is the three-point belt used in almost all cars and trucks. As with most car parts, accessories can be purchased for the belts that help to make them more useful and comfortable.

The development of the car safety belt has a long history that stretches back over one hundred years. The early lap belts saved many lives but they also caused many injuries due to poor design. The modern three-point car safety belt was first patented in 1951 by two American engineers, but it was not until the 1960s that it became standard equipment in most cars. Wearing a car safety belt was still optional in many countries up until the 1980s when laws were passed that made it mandatory. Even today, there are still many places around the world where there are no laws regarding belts.

The simple lap belt is referred to as a two-point car safety belt because it is secured to the car frame at two points. While a lap belt will stop the occupant from leaving the seat, serious injuries can occur if the upper body section is not restrained as well. This is why the three-point belt was introduced and remains the most widely used configuration today. At one time, it was thought that air bags could replace the three-point belt entirely, but that view has since changed and airbags are now considered supplemental protection devices. The three-point belt will remain the main safety device in cars for a long time to come.

The common three-point car safety belt consists of a long fabric strip, buckle, clip, and centrifugal clutch. The belt is secured to the car by an attachment point above the shoulder and two points below the seat, one for the clutch and one for the buckle. The clutch allows the belt to move freely when it turns at low speed. It only locks when it turns at high speed, such as during an accident when the occupant is flung forward. Most buckles are simple latches that have a push button release, but the ones that hold many clips have a wheel that makes them easier to release.

Sports cars and trucks are often fitted with four-point belts for extra protection. This configuration has two lap belts and two sashes that meet at a central buckle. The extra sash stops the occupant from moving sidewards during cornering at high speed, or during a rollover accident. There are even five-point and six-point configurations for racing car, similar to that used in acrobatic aircraft. The extra belt between the legs keeps the occupant from moving upwards and provides extra protection in high speed crashes, where the greater impact forces could make a belt with fewer attachment points fail.

There are a surprising number of accessories available for the car safety belt. A padded cover that fits around the sash helps stop it from digging into the shoulder. Children can also rest their heads on the covers when they want to sleep. Belt extenders are short lengths of belt with a clip and buckle that are used to increase the length of the belt. Pet restraints are harnesses with a short lead and a clip that are used to keep a pet sitting in a seat. One problem with the car safety belt is that it can be easily released by children. Buckle covers are available that cover the release button with a plastic shell that only adults can remove.

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