The submarine effect
The importance of wearing a seat belt
When we travel in a vehicle, the belt can save our lives. But this safety system can lose all its retention effectiveness if it is misplaced or left loose. Under these circumstances it becomes totally useless.
One of the possible consequences of improper safety belt use is the so-called submarine effect. It has nothing to do with the water environment but with sinking. If your body is not properly restrained by the seat belt, it presses the seat down and it could slide under the lap belt section of the seat belt.
If this situation occurs, for the driver the risk of hitting the steering wheel or dashboard increases as the body moves forward. According to the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), the consequence may be injuries to the back and pelvis, broken femur or head of femur, as well as internal bleeding.
As for children, the risks are even higher. Even if they are traveling with their proper restraint system, if the lap belt is not correctly positioned and has shifted to the stomach, his/her body can slide underneath it and suffer abdominal injuries in the event of a collision.
To avoid the submarine effect and prevent it from happening to your children, always tighten any slack in the belts and use tensors. All occupants of the vehicle should maintain a correct posture; children should sit as close to the backrest as possible and whenever possible use a five-point harness restraint system for them.
Do not place towels or cushions on the seat; if you brake suddenly and you are not properly buckled up, the fabric will tend to slip and your body will slip down with it.This advice is particularly important for children: in this case, you must also make sure they do not travel with a coat on.
Forget about excuses like “it bothers me,” “it’s too tight on him/her,” or “I’m just going around the corner”. Always check that all the occupants of the vehicle are wearing their seat belts correctly. Avoid the submarine effect.