Why don’t people wear seat belts?

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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.

Culture

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!

Fashion/Image

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.

Uncomfortable

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.

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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.

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19 Comments
  1. Sheraz Ashraf says

    Hats off to you sir, for writing such a nice article.
    This is something which we tend to ignore in our daily routine, not realizing that it could mean the difference between life and death.

  2. M. Aamir Bashir says

    v good article written..

  3. Khurram ShahzAd says

    Nice article, but unlike what the writer assumes I have never come across someone who does not wear seat belt so that he/she would look awkward or their shirt would get wrinkles. The short travel assumption is real plus in my opinion laziness along with lack of awareness plus add the ignorance with this. Plus yes, when you get used to it, it is very hard to go without it, something in your mind keeps telling, something is missing that you need to fix.

    With all that said I always try to and do wear that belt but sometimes your mind is so occupied with things going around you, you can easily ignore it. It is always better to stay safe, and it gives that extra edge. I have been in situations when I thanked Allah that I had wear that seat belt.

  4. Vishal Preetam says

    i ve noticed that if requested politely people(atleast friends our age) will wear their seatbelt if they see u wearing one.

  5. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks.. 🙂

  6. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thank you 🙂

  7. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks and i agree with you 🙂

  8. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Well the majority of people in our society will not agree, even if asked nicely.. Especially elders!

  9. Mujtaba Abbas says

    well Mr. Khurram, trust me i have come across such people.. :/

  10. مبشر اقبال says

    awesome article !!!!

  11. Ali Yaldrum says

    I have to agree with Mujtaba, as a whole the Pakistani society suffers from Superman syndrome. Our collective mindset dictates that the more rules one break the more respect he gets. I personally can not drive without putting the seat belts on BUT having said that yes when ever I get back to Pakistan sometimes people stare at me as if I wearing my underwear on my head, LOL.

  12. Mujtaba Abbas says

    True. A pedestrian even said to a seat belt user " Bhai uddan lagay o? " 😀

  13. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thank you 🙂

  14. Rabeel Ch says

    well its a noble cause you selected to write on, and you did well, I worked in UAE on a Pipeline Project travelling almost 30K kilometer/Month in a new land cruiser, for last two years, On highways, Desert and mountains ,I knew land cruiser is a safe car but Still I did not feel Safe with out seatbelt, this is real fact that we need to understand what the industrial saying ''think safety'' means, no one is a superman, only being careful can saطe us from lot of really bad troubles ,once against thanks for writing such a beautiful article

  15. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks for the appreciation 🙂

  16. Anonymous says

    I agree and appreciate the efforts of all those who help promote usage of seat belts. After facing two head on roads accidents one with and other without Seat Belts, for me its like walking on road with no shoes since a small pebble would hurt a lot

  17. Mujtaba Abbas says

    100% Agreed with your opinion 🙂

  18. King Qaisrani says

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