It’s just been a day since former Chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry tragically died in a car crash near Palghar, Mumbai, and social media outlets are abuzz with the importance of seat belts. Chairman of the Mahindra group, Anand Mahindra, took to social media outlet Twitter, and pledged to wear a seat belt while seated on the rear seat. Mr. Mahindra also asked everyone to take a pledge to wear seat belts in the rear seat as well. Here’s what he said,
I resolve to always wear my seat belt even when in the rear seat of the car. And I urge all of you to take that pledge too. We all owe it to our families. https://t.co/4jpeZtlsw0
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) September 5, 2022
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra police department’s initial findings after the crash reveal that Cyrus Mistry and Jehangir Pandole – both in the rear seat of the Mercedes Benz GLC SUV – were not wearing seatbelts. This resulted in the airbags of the Mercedes Benz GLC not opening during the crash. Had the airbags opened, both Mr. Mistry and Pandole may have survived the high-speed crash.
Why are seat belts so important?
Seat belts represent the primary restraint system (first line of defence) during a car crash. Seat belts ensure that passengers of a car are not thrown around in the event of a crash. Often, it’s this uncontrolled movement within the car during a crash that causes maximum injuries, and even death. Seat belts are also critical because they work in conjunction with airbags.
If seat belts aren’t worn, airbags on most, if not all modern cars, will not deploy. And if airbags don’t deploy during a crash, the risk of a passenger hitting hard parts of the car’s interiors and suffering major injuries or even death becomes very high. This is why seat belts must be worn by all passengers of a moving car, and this includes those seated on the rear seats as well.
It’s a misconception that sitting on the rear seat of the car is safer and doesn’t require the wearing of seatbelts. Had that been the case, Cyrus Mistry would have walked out of the crash. Clearly, things turned out differently.
Sticking to the speed limit is another life saver!
The Maharashtra police department’s initial probe into the crash that killed Cyrus Mistry and his friend Jehangir Pandole states that in the run up to the crash, the Mercedes Benz GLC covered 20 kilometers in just 9 minutes. This represents an average speed of 133 Kmph, which is way over the speed limit. At such speeds, a collision is very likely to kill one or more of the car’s passengers as the blunt force impact (caused by sudden deceleration) at such a speed will cause internal organs to collide against each other to result in heavy internal bleeding.
This is why it’s very important to stick to the speed limit no matter how strongly built the car is. Finally, it’s the laws of physics that take over, and cause tremendous damage at higher speeds. The human body is simply not designed to be stopped very suddenly, and high speed crashes do just that.
Sticking to the speed limit also gives the driver adequate time to respond to an emergency. In case of the Mercedes Benz crash that killed Cyrus Mistry, the driver of the car – Mumbai-based gynaecologist Anahita Pandole – may have found it hard to judge the sudden narrowing of the road. At lower speeds, she could have probably braked hard for the looming barrier or even steered away from it. High speeds mean very less time to respond, and most normal people would not have such quick response times.