Actually, a lot!
Normally, this post focuses on things that have gone by. This is about things that have got better over the years. And, it was inspired by a reply to last week post. So, thanks, Noeline for the inspiration.
#DriveIn nights were treat nights: picnic in the car, movie, sleep on the makeshift beds in the back of the station wagon. But, where’s the memory of seat belts? That led to https://t.co/cmULCBiBJf: “Whatever happened to … https://t.co/HQHauXYDsB by @dougpete“
— NOELINEL (@NoelineL) June 10, 2018
The link there to seat belts was a great historical review for me and it brought back so many memories of this thing that I hate and drives me crazy. Although, I will admit the technology is so much better today. Plus, I’m too cheap to risk getting caught without wearing it and paying the fine.
My first vehicle was an old pickup truck. I don’t recall it even having seat belts. One of my secret pleasures is attending old car and truck shows and looking for this old Chevrolet. I found one once and looked inside. The dash looked the same and, because it had been restored to be drive-able on the road, it had very obviously new seat belts in it.
Regardless, we would never have worn them at the time. I don’t think anyone did. Ditto for my parents’ car although it did have them. We just pushed these annoying contraptions behind the seats so they didn’t get in the road. Of course, we did stupid things like riding in the back of a pickup truck or my wife reminds me of driving in her aunt’s station wagon going up and down steep hills and being elevated from their seats.
There did come a time, in Ontario, when wearing them became compulsory. I can remember the first attempts to police it and lines of cars would be stopped to make sure that occupants were wearing them. They were so annoying. They were the same design for front and back. I guess technically, they were called lap belts and this big clasp always seemed to uncomfortably sit right in the middle of your stomach.
We always thought – sure the government can make us wear it but we don’t have to wear it tightly. We were such rebels.
But you wore it because the penalty was $25 or something. Everyone kept a razor blade in the ash tray to cut the belt if you got in an accident and couldn’t get loose. There was this story circulating about someone who had gone into a lake and drowned because they couldn’t get free!
Then, to add to the level of annoyance (and your safety), the lap belt became more like the seat belt that we have today. The clasp was now off to the side but the part that went over your chest would end up choking you. To solve this, Canadian Tire used to sell these little clips that would go over the belt to stop it from fully retracting. If one wasn’t available, those big paper clips worked nicely too.
Of course, these days, seat belts are standard features on vehicles and have never been better although there have been a few recalls. They no longer choke, are adjustable in height, and you’re reminded through sensors when a person is sitting in a seat without a belt in place. Red lights flash on the panel and a chime is there to let you know. There are still signs on the 401 to remind you that their use is mandatory but those signs are starting to really show their age.
It’s a costly offence with fines starting at $200 and earning you 2 demerit points.
So, your thoughts for a Sunday…
- do you remember a time before seat belts were part of a car design?
- do you remember riding in a vehicle before it was mandatory to wear one?
- how do you handle the uncomfortableness of a seat belt or do you just deal with it?
- is it really necessary to warn people about driving unbuckled with the chimes and alarms on cars?
- do you get a secret sense of experience when a flight attendant explains to young people how lap belts work on airplanes?
- with advancements in air bag and other technologies, do you see a time when seat belts will no longer be necessary?
Please share your thoughts in the comments. I want to know if I’m the only person around here who predates seat belts!
This is a regular Sunday post here. You can read all of them by clicking this link.
And, if you have an idea for a post, just let me know. These are a great deal of fun to write.