One of the things you will notice (and mock about) in overseas Pakistanis or foreigners will be their insistence to wear seatbelts. Myself being no exception, I find myself laughing when my identical twin wears a seatbelt next to me. Jokes apart, there is a very serious issue lurking behind and in order to solve this problem, it’s essential to look into the cause of it.
When Neo (played by Keanu Reaves) dodged bullets in the matrix trilogy, the entire film world was awed. Little do many people know that “Maula jutt” was doing even more incredible stuff in his movies decades ago! Point being it is very common for people to think “Nothing can happen to them” & “accidents happen to other people, not me”. Go to an emergency ward, you will see countless people (from accidents and else) who woke up thinking today would be just like another day. Go to an graveyard and it will be full of people who never thought that an open grave was waiting for them that day. Just because you feel like its all right, doesn’t mean it is!
In order to make it easier for reader to comprehend think about when you heard this line last time
“Log kya kahain gay “(what will the people say) or “Dostoon kay saamne kaisa lagoon ga” (How will I look infront of my friends). Our whole society is woven around the thread of people’s perception of us. No sensible person will argue against the merits of using seatbelt but will resort to him/her looking awkward. Some people even say that seat belts cause wrinkles in their shirts! In the unfortunate event of someone’s demise from traffic accident the same people will wish that the departed had worn seatbelt. Parents will lecture children over dinner but eventually in a nation where any injury/casualty less than three figure is page three news, it fades.
I have to admit here, it does need getting used to, especially if you aren’t used to it as a kid. I was fortunate enough to go on the world’s fastest roller-coaster in Ferrari World, which goes up to 382 km/h. Everyone double checked their seatbelts themselves because in this case, they know it’s dangerous, so why the complacency with cars? Logical person would advise you to exchange comfort for safety. In most of the races (formula one etc), drivers even wear helmets inside cars. People tend to glamorize high speed superstars without realizing our body is not made for impact. Paul Walker died in a simple car crash and Michael Schumacher is in coma after hitting his head while skiing even while wearing a helmet. Trust me once you get used to Seat belts, you will find going without a seat belt very uncomfortable.
I’m not going far
This is my personal favorite. Most people argue seat-belt is for the motorways and highways only (because the concerned police check and fine). Most accidents occur close to home. This fact is well known by insurance companies which charge you premiums based on where you live, not where you go. If it’s a short distance, might as well bear the “stigma” of wearing a seat-belt.
My car is safe
Off course it is. Your car is a new model with built in air bags, high strength aerodynamic alloys. In other words, nothing less than a Ghauri missile can take it down. Pardon me but, the countless people splattered all over the road (in one of the most expensive vehicles mankind can afford) in countries like Saudi Arabia, beg to differ. I am not going into how much % you are safe additionally with the seatbelt but that minor percentage is to keep you alive and chance to see your family next time. In some cases, air bags without seat-belts do more harm to you than good.
My car is old
I will not waste my reader’s time into elaborating this one. In a country where sometimes the add-ons (Alloy rims, sound systems, modifications etc) sometimes exceed the price of the car, arranging seat-belts is definitely worth it.
Time of death is fixed
Not to stir up a religious debate but it’s unanimously accepted that God wants us to be sensible and smart. Our life is a gift from God and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.
I must say, wearing a seat-belt does not make you invincible and best approach is being sensible and careful. Next time you sit in your car think about what your excuse is going to be this time.