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Question of the day - Seat belts

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007

I was in an auto accident Saturday afternoon. We were heading to Chicago to see the 50th anniversary concert for the Old Town School of Folk Music during that big ice storm. Just north of Pontiac, I hit the slickest patch of ice I’ve ever seen and wound up in the median ditch. Oops.

We were both wearing our seat belts so neither of us was hurt beyond some minor bruises, even though I did total the car. Five minutes after our wreck, a car driving south on the frontage road hit an ice patch and flipped four times. The driver was apparently not wearing his belt and he was thrown from his vehicle and died almost instantly.

Usually, I like to keep my private life private. It’s really none of your business what I do or what happens to me when I’m not working. But I’ve been thinking all week that maybe if I show you a photo of my car, it’ll convince some of the recalcitrants out there to wear their freakin’ seat belts, so here it is…

Again, we weren’t hurt other than a bit of soreness. It could have been much worse if we were stupid enough not to wear our belts.

So, on to the question: Do you ever go beltless? Why? Also, do you have any friends or family members who refuse to wear their belts? What’s their excuse?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:35 am:

    Never. I remember when the law went into effect - I think it was 86 or 87 and I have been belted ever since. My dad was in the legislature a while back and when it was first proposed he voted against it saying he believed people had a right to do what they wanted, which seems crazy to me.

  2. - AFSCME MEMBER - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:37 am:

    It was our AFSCME member that died in the accident on the way home from a political confrence. God bless him amd his family.

  3. - montrose - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:41 am:

    Never. My resolve to wear a seat belt was strengthened when my son was born. It is the height of irresponsibility to not wear it.

    I know a couple people that do not wear a belt because it is “uncomfortable.” If that is not the definition of short-sighted, I do not know what is.

  4. - WARDOG - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:43 am:

    All one has to do is to make a habit of putting it on the minute you get into your vehicle and after a while it just become automatic. In comparison to fatalities and non-fatalities there is no doubt seat belt save lives. I don’t believe in the police getting hire-back grant monies to do nothing but patrolling our streets and roads for the sole purpose of giving seat belt violations.

  5. - b-dogg - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    yes, i did when i was younger to look cool and my grandparents never did, even though my parents do. little kids recognize everything, they are a lot smarter than we think they are. when i saw my grandpa not wearing his seat belt i didn’t want to either. enforcement is spotty as well. i wear it now, but did get a ticket on the west side of chicago once. there was a “seat belt check point” set up to stop people. the seat belt check point simply served as a way to search those they stopped. i am white, by girlfriend at the time was black the cops wanted to know “what i was doing over here??” i wanted to say “buying some crack and picking up a prostitute.” but i just kept my mouth shut. moral of the story, seat belt enforcement simply becomes a way to get at people for other crimes instead of enforcement for the health and safety of the public.

  6. - Kiyoshi Martinez - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    All my friends and family wear their seat belts (that I’m aware of) and I “click it” as well. I’ve been in one auto accident when my dad was driving and we were going down a hill and hit the side of a pickup’s truck bed. Fortunately, my dad, brother and I were OK. I can’t imagine what would have happened to either my dad or brother in the front if they’d not been wearing a belt.

    The only time I don’t wear a seatbelt is typically when I’m taking a taxi cab in Chicago. Now that I think about that, it’s not smart and I should start doing so. I’m suddenly getting images of Tarantino’s “Death Proof.”

    Glad to hear you’re OK.

  7. - Crimefighter - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    I feel insecure if I’m not wearing my belt while driving.

  8. - Lefty Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:46 am:

    When the law was passed I was in high school and thought (as any tough high school kid would) that it was stupid and intrusive. I got my act together and never go without. Also I have too many personal stories than I can go into here with sad endings for non-users and happier endings for users.

    I actually don’t know anybody personally who refuses to wear them, thankfully.

    Make sure you use them in the back seat, too.

  9. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:48 am:

    I was taught as a small child to fasten my belt before the key turned in the ignition. Still do it, regardless of where I am.

    Glad you are ok Rich.

  10. - OneMan - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:48 am:

    A) Glad you are ok..

    B) Always wear the belt. My wife is a medical professional so when we come accross an acident that the police haven’t responded to we stop to see if there are injuries (she is sort of required to).

    Anyway we came upon an acident on 55 just south of the I-55 / I-80 intersection. Car took the exit ramp too fast and went off the road. We get to the car and one other person had stoped at that point. We id the victom including one person we thought was a pile of clothes on the side of the road (got tossed out of the car wasn’t wearing her belt if I recall). I stayed with the victom in the back seat checking him and keeping him awake while my wife and the paramedic helped the woman who got ejected.

    I read later she died.

    The image of her there motionless, with my wife, the paramedic and another person who was in the car doing CPR will stick with me the rest of my life.

    Also my wife has turned my kids into complete belt cops…

  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:52 am:

    The ironic thing is that I was pulling into the right lane because I was worried I was going so slow that I might get hit from behind. I didn’t see that ice patch. It was quite the ride, as you might imagine. lol

  12. - siyotanka - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    Ever since I flew jets, I have ALWAYS worn seatbelts. Besides my wife works for State Farm…and she NEVER lets me forget. You are blessed Rich.

  13. - Ghost - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    I sometimes go beltless when I am driving around in town and making a lot of stops where I am getting in and out of the vehicle. Its not intentional, more absent mindedness.

  14. - Muskrat - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    My current car just turned over to 100,000 miles and every single one was travelled with the seat belt fastened. I’ve been lucky never to have needed it, but I still won’t move without it.

  15. - Pat collins - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:55 am:

    I always wear one, have ever since I was 16.

    I am fighting with my oldest now who seems to think its not “cool” to clip in. I’ll email her this *^^*

  16. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:57 am:

    I always wear one — I dunno, maybe if I’m making an “intra-parking lot” trip I might slip up, but my car beeps for a good while if it doesn’t detect it. I don’t often have riders in the back seat, but I don’t think they buckle up very often. The exception was when I was volunteering for the Kerry campaign in Iowa and would drive other volunteers there — they usually buckled up.

  17. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:57 am:

    Glad you are okay, Rich!
    When the law was first passed and not a primary offense it ticked me off - big brother and nanny state, etc. Then they made it a primary offense (reneged on their promise not to) with a fine of $75, and being a very cheap Scotsman, I have worn it ever since. It really is no bother now, just a habit done without much thought. However, it’s stories like yours and a couple of posters that remind me of how much sense it really makes and the potential and sometimes real cost of my stubbornness.

  18. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    Rich, that must have been a very scary experience for you. I’m glad you’re all right.

    You’re absolutely right about people who don’t wear their belts. The most I ever do is not wear my belt when driving a couple of blocks to the dry cleaner or CVS. But if the weather’s bad, even that is reckless.

    I know some people hate when big nanny government comes in and tells them what to do, but my response is get over it and stop being an idiot.

  19. - Levois - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:59 am:

    I have an aunt who the last time I was in a car with her didn’t wear a seat belt, but it was attributed to her girth.

  20. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    I always belt it when I’m driving or in someone else’s car, but in cabs I’m very erratic.

    I don’t know why, I just never put the belt on, even in the front seat (which is rare, and cab front seats are always covered in junk). I should be more careful to put on the seatbelt.

    I also try to remind passengers to put theirs on when I’m driving. It’s odd to me when people always put their seat belts on when they are driving, but then don’t when they are passengers.

    I know a couple of people like that. I don’t get it. At least in a cab, you have the bullet proof glass to keep you from being ejected (though I’m sure it would hurt like hell to be thrown into that)

  21. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:01 am:

    Oh, and I’m glad you’re ok Rich. I don’t know what I did before I discovered thecapitolfaxblog.

  22. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:05 am:

    Glad to hear good results in a bad situation. I’m always belted. I feel safe being belted. I don’t understand though why the motorcycle lobby fights mandatory helmets as much as they do. Of course, there’s a lot about this state I don’t understand.

  23. - Township Commissioner - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    Occasionally will not put on seat belt across (small) town-convenience factor. Biggest problem with getting people to use seat belts is the way it was and is marketed: “Wear it to protect yourself after you have a wreck.” That’s pretty pessimistic.
    Should be: Wear it to keep from having an accident-you can’t control the car if you’re sliding all over the seat or using the steering wheel as a brace.
    Fighter pilots and race car drivers always wear them for that reason, not because they may crash.
    I always wear mine when operating equipment-makes me a better operator.

  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:09 am:

    My car does not move unless everybody is buckled.

  25. - publius - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:10 am:

    the exact thing happened to my wife and daughter on the same stretch of 55 a few winters ago—they were wearing their belts, and lived, and now the whole family wears them every time, every trip

  26. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:12 am:

    I have worn them for more than 750k miles (decades of driving) needed them four times, saved my life at least twice.

  27. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    VanillaMen have family responsibilities that require that they stay strong and healthy. When they enjoy NASCAR races, they see that these men are belted into their vehicles in order to stay in control at all times. Even for those VanillaMen who do not favor governmental mothering, we recognize seat belt laws as vital to safe driving. Seat belts allow drivers to stay in control when their vehicles are not.

    VanillaMen do not risk their lives for fashion or frivolity. They do what is needed to protect their families from harm while traveling. This requires the wearing of seat belts at all times.

    Obviously Rich, you do the right thing. Good man!

  28. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:16 am:

    Conversely, it’s really none of your business what WE do when we’re not posting. ;) (Sorry, just couldn’t resist!)

  29. - Captain America - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:16 am:

    Always wear my seat belt.
    If I were a motorcycle rider, I’d wear a star-spangled, red, white and blue helmet because I have worked in a hospital and have seen the results of motorcycle accidents.

  30. - Kiyoshi Martinez - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:18 am:

    Chicago Cynic: The most I ever do is not wear my belt when driving a couple of blocks to the dry cleaner or CVS.

    I remember a statistic from driver’s education in high school where they told us that a majority of accidents occur within 2 miles of your home. You tend to let your guard down in familiar environments and that’s when accidents occur. Something to keep in mind.

  31. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    Have worn my seatbelt since before it was a law. I would rather look smart-and-alive than look cool-and-dead any day of the week.

  32. - Trafficmatt - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    Always wear one.

    My Chevy truck has that “ding-ding” and the dashboard lights up if the passenger has not buckled up. Gives me a convenient way to tell them to buckle up so the darn thing will not keep dinging. I really want them to buckle up and be safe, but this way I’m not specifically preaching at them unless I am feeling in the mood to preach.

  33. - Ghost - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    Back in the good old 80’s there were a few cars which could not be put into Drive unless the belt was buckled. Car Companies removed the feature from later models. Trying to remeber which cars had it.

  34. - Ken in Aurora - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    Glad to hear you’re OK, Rich.

    I *always* wear my belt, and have since I was a kid in the late 1960s. My Grandfather pounded it into me.

    I’ve actually worn out belts in a few cars and have had to replace them!

  35. - Bruno - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:28 am:

    I’m agnostic on laws mandating seat belts. I always wear one, and think the putting kids in belts and seats is worth a mandate.

    That said, the post above seems to be par for the course in Illinois. What a mindset!!!

    People “having the right to do what they want.”

    How Crazy!!

  36. - jaundiced eye - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    Saturday driving in central IL was beyond treacherous, and I’m glad to learn that you and your passenger are uninjured.

    As a big city dweller, I implore cab passengers to use their seatbelts. Being slammed into the plastic driver’s safety shield almost cost a friend his right eye. Just look at the bolts in one of those shields the next time you’re in a Chicago cab, think of the impact with your face and you’ll join all of us who use seatbelts automatically. Now … if only Amtrak and school buses had seatbelts …

  37. - Vilhe Mechi - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    Aren’t you glad you werent driving the BMW?

  38. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:31 am:

    Anytime I’m going any distance over 1 mile I always wear my belt. I can be an idiot about short drives though and simply forget to put it on which probably wouldn’t be so idiotic if I didn’t live in an urban environment with the heavy traffic that entails.

    Girth is a factor! When I was 125 lb heavier (hey it’s been a good year for my health!) I seldom wore my seatbelt especially in my partner’s Camaro because it didn’t fit.

  39. - m - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:31 am:

    My cop friends always noted the difference in results in responding to accidents where people were belted vs unbelted. The difference was significant, belted is much safer.

    I simply got into the habit to where it is automatic.

  40. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:32 am:

    ===Aren’t you glad you werent driving the BMW?===

    No way would I be that stupid. lol. That car stays in the garage if there’s even a hint of snow in the forecast.

  41. - Anon from BB - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:33 am:

    Always wear mine. I feel naked without it.

    A good friend of mine was traveling to an interview (I think it was on I-90) and she was in the right lane. A semi in the center lane suddenly moved into her lane, cut her off and she swerved to avoid the truck, hit some gravel on the shoulder, spun the car and ended up flipping it three or four times along the grassy side of the road.

    Thankfully, she was wearing her belt. The car was upside down, but she was able to undo her belt and crawl out the back window. She walked away from the wreck with some minor bumps and bruises. The car (Saturn) was a total loss.

  42. - 312 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    My sister went through a windshield back in the 1970s, and I could have in 1979 if I wasn’t buckled (when we hit a semi on I-294).

    EVERYONE who is in the car, when I am driving, needs to be buckled. Doesn’t matter if it’s a short trip, hot day, I’m sleeping, older car (I drove a ‘66 Mustang) whatever. I honestly don’t feel right without it. Now if I could get my dogs to wear one, that would be great — but I at least have their leashes connected to the parking brake so they won’t fly out of the car.

    Only time I don’t is in a cab downtown — but if it’s any farther than a mile, I dig around and find the belt. And that’s probably the time I need it the most!

    I’m glad you’re ok Rich! It’s terrifying when something like that happens — and when you come upon an accident where someone HASN’T worn one, you realize just how much they’re needed.

  43. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    I had a person that worked for me that hit black ice, fliped his SUV and was ejected. He didn’t die,but is a quadrapalegic. He NEVER wore his seatbelt.

    I wear mine 99.9% of the time, and as a side note wear (And believe EVERYONE should wear one) a helmet when I ride a Motorcycle.

    Glad you are ok Rich.

  44. - Well.. - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    I am glad you wore you are safe and it is smart to wear a seatbelt. What you did was kind of at odds though. You wore a seat belt for safety then went out, unnecessarily, in an ice storm. If it’s smart to wear a seat belt, and it is, it is equally smart not to go out, unless you have to, in an ice storm.

  45. - archpundit - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:37 am:

    I got my license three days before putting the seat belt to the test. As a dumb&%$# kid, I decided I’d drive real fast on a gravel road out by Lake Evergreen–I took the corner, slid and hit some sort of earthen barrier that flipped the car onto the hood.

    I wasn’t hurt other than a small scrape on my hand where a piece of safety glass scratched me as I climbed out the space where the windshield had been. There’s a very awkward moment after you have flipped a car and next you end up upside down sitting there listening to the radio. Of course, at that age, I was pretty much thinking I’d never drive again until I was 30.

    It has also saved me in a wreck where a driver hit me–it kept me in control and behind the wheel instead of in the on-coming lane of traffic.

    I always wear my seat belt. And I find the mandate far more important than just for my health. Seat belts turn major accidents into minor ones by keeping drivers behind the wheel and in control of their vehicle. It’s not just an issue of personal safety, it is a basic traffic safety measure.

    Even if upside down. ;)

    Glad to hear you were okay, and I am betting I know the curve it happened on.

  46. - Bluefish - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:38 am:

    Someone told me when I started driving that your face never wins a collision with a windshield. I’ve worn my seatbelt ever since.

  47. - amy - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:39 am:

    Rich, sorry about your accident. thanks for sharing
    your personal life in this instance to convince
    others to do the right thing…..wear the freakin’
    seat belt, people. i refuse to start driving
    unless everyone is belted in. glad you are not
    too bruised. warm bath, jack daniels, keep safe everyone.

  48. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:39 am:

    Only when I move the car to the driveway from the street…and when I am trying to smack my daughter while she runs around the car..(Joking).

    Glad Rich is good.

  49. - Another Pro-gunner - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:41 am:

    Seat belts may save lives, but they don’t make people drive more safely. In fact, some feel that seatbelts actually make people drive less safely, as they push the limits more because they feel they are more protected in case there is an accident. It’s the theory of risk compensation, where people adjust behavior based on what they perceive as a change in the level of risk. If you want to increase your chances of surviving an accident, by all means, wear a seatbelt. But don’t confuse that with making you, or others, safer drivers.

  50. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    Glad you were not driving the BMW?

    That’s why I’ve bought two. I will take a large repair bill if it means I’m in a car that will save my life. The safety features are amazing and frankly, it responds so well that it makes avoiding accidents easier.

    To the point — I go to the extreme. I always were a seatbelt. I require that anyone else in the car wear a seatbelt. When I ride cabs (usually twice a day) I wear a seat belt. I don’t trust the driving of most cab drivers, so I always have it on.

    That being said — let me also say that I have problems with the seat belt law. The only person harmed in an accident in which the person didn’t use seatbelts is the user. People should have the freedom to do stupid stuff if they will be the only victim.

    I also have issues with the fact that on most cars — including the BMW — it is very difficult to turn the air bag off (which can be a big problem when the passenger is very small), but that’s another matter completely.

  51. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    I have a Z3, Skeeter. Not exactly a snow car.

  52. - L.S. - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:44 am:

    I never wear a belt locally, but always on the highway. I know I should all the time, but habits are hard to break. I think water gathers at the spot by Pontiac Rich b/c I’ve almost skidded out a couple time right around there.

  53. - jane doe - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:44 am:

    Every time regardless of where I am in the vehicle. I rolled a car without my seatbelt and somehow escaped severe injuries. never again.

  54. - Rod sez I'm pork - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:46 am:

    Glad to hear you are okay. A couple of years ago I had a run in with a flying Weber Grill doing 60 miles an hour. We ended up in a ditch upside down. There is nothing more sobering than seeing your daughters hanging from the roof by their car seats. We exited chastened, but unhurt. The rule is the car does not move until all are buckled. No exceptions for Dad.

  55. - Bill - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:46 am:

    I forget sometimes. The picture of your car is a good reminder. Thanks, glad you’re ok!

  56. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    I see your point.
    Mine were both 3 Series sedans (the first had RWD and stick, the current has AWD and automatic).
    If I had the Z I would park it in winter too.
    The old RWD was a great car on snow and ice. The new one is very good.

  57. - Garp - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    I am glad you were not hurt too bad. I too was in this storm driving to the Dells. People were doing 70 miles an hour and needless to say a bad accident happened closing off I90 for over a half hour. I had to turn around and drive back to the closest exit and get a room and wait out the carnage. As I drove back-there were at least 10 other accidents caused by drivers not being able to stop because of the original accident.

    I am not sure what goes through peoples minds when driving in conditions that are dangerous. Not wearing seat belts, not turning on their lights, trying to keep up with traffic that is going too fast for conditions. Don’t be afraid to be the dork driving in the right lane letting all the big shots fly by. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the cool guys in the ditch a few miles ahead.

  58. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    Last month we buried the 17-year old son of a co-worker who died in a car-truck collision. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from his car. He was my friend’s only child and the funeral was one of the saddest things I’ve ever experienced. Please buckle up.

  59. - Rayfan - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:55 am:

    Always wear my seatbelt - a product of parenting in my case. I vaguely remember riding in cars without seat belts when I was very young, but I also remember my parents not moving the car until our seat belts were on once they were available.

    Spinning uncontrollably on ice in a vehicle may be one of the most discomforting sensation you can experience. I did the exact same thing on a state route about ten years ago … I think I might have hit the only patch of ice in Illinois, but my vehicle spun all the way around at least twice before the back end smashed into an permanent road sign just off the road. As I was getting out, a semi going the other direction flew by, and I still feel fortunate I hadn’t been in that spot a few seconds later.

    Not wearing one’s seat belt is one of the dumbest decisions anyone could make. It’s a totally unnecessary risk to take … little different than playing Russian Roulette.

  60. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 11:59 am:


    My family and I always wear our belts.

    I began wearing my religiously after my little brother hit a windrow of snow on the side of the road and launched my 1970 Dodge Dart over a ditch and fence-line, landed it on the roof and walked away despite his failure to buckle up — side note: he was 12. I figure he used up every ounce of our family’s collective luck in that accident and that I should build-up my own seat-belt karma pool.

    My father in law does not buckle up because he has a very large waistline. If someone figured out a way to make seat-belts more comfortable — perhaps a sleeve that makes the belt wider and bite less — there is a fortune to be made.

    – SCAM

    PS. Glad everyone was okay.

  61. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    Glad you are OK and condolences and prayers for the driver who passed away.

    I have been wearing seat belts religiously since 1968. At that time I just wanted to avoid sliding around the seat when cornering.

    I do not put the car in gear until all passengers are belted. I’ve had wise guys take off their belts when I am flying, but a short steep dive gets their attention.

    I do however dislike the mandatory seat belt laws. Especially the primary stop for seat belt violation. (I do support mandatory restraints for children) It is not uniformly enforced.

    Most police officers, will not issue seat belt violations after an accident because they believe that people are punished enough. Silly reasoning.

    I kind of like the system in Germany where your medical coverage is limited if you are not wearing seat belts and are injured in an accident.

  62. - cardsmama - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:14 pm:

    Glad you are o.k. It looks like a frightening incident.
    I always wear seat belts and feel ‘naked’ if it is not around me. My daughter has always worn hers, too! there’s never been a discussion about it since she stopped using a car seat. It is a great habit to have whether it is law or not. And, by the way, I use turn signals, too, as second nature…wish more would, but then I am a mutant who likes the old way about MANY things!

  63. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    IL currently has a compliance rate of 88% for front seat occupants. That means, statistically, eight of nine bloggers here are regular wearers and one of nine aren’t, when driving. We’ve heard a few fess up, which is a good step to making amends. I almost always wear mine, and hate the buzzer and lights in a newer vehicle if you’re not buckled, so it’s a good reminder.

  64. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    as a young person I see too many people my age brought down in the prime of their life because they didn’t wear their seatbelt. I never leave home without and won’t let any of my friends ridding in my car to not wear them either

  65. - Princeville - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:39 pm:

    I hate seatbelts. Wear one all the time, but hate that shoulder strap . Hubby was an EMT doing rescue for 15 years, saw far to many and it was he who made me finally start wearing one. No seat belt, no keys. After one really nasty call where hubby had to work around a small child who lost their head, hubby slowly lost the nerve to do accidents anymore and retired from dept–he went about another year and just could not do it anymore. For pete’s sake people, click that belt, and if you won’t please be sure your children do.

  66. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    Scariest trip ever was when I went into the mountains of Albania looking for a friend who had been in a car accident. Another friend was killed in that same wreck.

    My driver demanded that I not wear my seat belt, even though the roads were a collection of treacherous hairpin switchback curves, filled with potholes and populated with really awful drivers.

    The reason: A seatbelt was a dead giveaway that I was a foreigner. Since we were heading into the heart of rebel bandit country, we would be prime targets.

    Considering that neither of my friends (one dead, one hospitalized) was wearing a belt when they were forced off a mountain road by bandits, I thought this was the goofiest idea ever. Not to mention that I in no way resemble the typical Albanian of that region - we’d be targets no matter what.

    But he insisted and I complied.

    That was not a fun excursion.

  67. - jwscott72 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    Glad to hear you’re OK

    I always wear my seatbelt regardless of destination. I was involved in a crash on US 67 near Monmouth a few years back. Long story short, the ISP trooper told me that, had I not been belted in, he would have been picking me out of the windshield. Pretty much sealed the deal for me and anyone else in my car.

  68. - Miranda - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:01 pm:

    Ok…so it looks like I am the lone voice of dissention here. I never wear a seatbelt. I know all the stats about how many times they save lives, etc., so don’t start harping on me about those. I also know of many people, myself included, who lived because they were not wearing a seatbelt.

    A friend of mine was thrown into the backseat of her car during an accident once, and walked away with just bruises and cuts. The front end of the car was so smashed in, the steering wheel was deeply embedded into the driver’s side seat. The police officer even told her at that time she was lucky she hadn’t been wearing her seatbelt, because the steering wheel would have severed her in half and she would have most likely died.

    For myself, I am only 5 foot 1 inch tall. The strap cuts straight across my throat. My cousin (who is the same height as me) had her throat gashed open because of this during an accident once. Being that I suffer from PTSD due to an incident where someone tried to slit my throat open, I cannot wear a seat belt that is sitting on my throat without panicking.

    I would rather pay my $25 fine (that’s what it is in Sangamon County if you show up the date of court hearing) than drive panicky and take the risk of being trapped inside of the car during a fire or other incident.

  69. - Anon from BB - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    SCAM, do a Google or Yahoo! search for “seat belt covers”. Many of them show them for the shoulder, but I’m sure they can be adapted for the lap portion.

    Scariest experience I ever had was when I was in high school. My buddy drove us to school. He owned a Ford Bronco II. It was snowing out, and the conditions were icy. We were on our way to school, and were taking side streets because the main roads were jammed with traffic. We were doing no more than 20 miles/hour when we hit an icy patch.

    The truck spun three times before we even knew it, and we ended up facing the opposite direction.

    Anyone that’s been in a Bronco II knows that it feels like it will tip even going in a straight line. We thought we were going to tip the truck that day, but it didn’t, thank God.

  70. - Seatbelts for Everyone - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:09 pm:

    Some of the replies above have mentioned folks who don’t wear seatbelts due to size issues.

    It seems to me that seat belts should be available to everyone, regardless of size. That law says everyone is required to wear one.

    Seatbelts save lives…everyone should have access to them.

    The auto-makers should be required to make seatbelts available for every size passenger.

    Check out the current seatbelt regulations and think of how many people you know who are outside of these measurements.

    More info regarding this issue:

    The above isn’t my website, but I want people to be aware of this issue.

    Rich - I’m glad you’re okay.

  71. - PE - PTOE - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    I can’t get out of the driveway without my wife and/or children saying “seatbelt”.

  72. - countryboy - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:15 pm:

    I also drove from Springfield to Chicago Sat afternoon.(belted) The viewing sample was large enough to draw some conclusions. Cars slip into the ditch. Semis jack-knife. Trucks lie on their side, but pickups and urban assault vehicles prefer to rest on their heads. Your photo fits the profile…

  73. - Patriot - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:36 pm:

    That stretch of Route 55 north of Pontiac is notorious for “black ice.”

  74. - pickles!! - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:41 pm:

    While i always wear a safety belt, my beef has been with the law that requires it. To me, it should be choice, and the government should not tell me what I should do in my car. Just like motorcycle helmet laws. If someone wants to wea rone, fine. But the should not be required to do so.

  75. - Vilhe Mechi - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:44 pm:

    How did you get home Rich?

  76. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:46 pm:

    My uncle came to get us.

  77. - Wacker Drive - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    I’m glad to hear you are all okay.
    And I will start wearing my seatbelt all the time.
    God Bless!

  78. - downhereforyears - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:08 pm:

    I never used to wear a belt…thought govt overstepped it’t bound…who were they to tell me what to do. Later saw a very close friend killed in an auto accident….have worn one ever since.

  79. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:13 pm:

    Not to make lite of your situation, but the headline of the previous thread with the picture of your car above it, sums up your plight.
    Glad you came out of it alright and we should all keep the AFSCME guy in the other car in our prayers.

  80. - Kevin Highland - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:28 pm:

    While I choose to wear a seat belt all the time I don’t feel that the gov’t should protect the stupid people from themselves.

    The land of the free is less and less that everyday!

  81. - Anonymiss - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:30 pm:

    “I remember a statistic from driver’s education in high school where they told us that a majority of accidents occur within 2 miles of your home.”

    Kiyoshi - the reason most accidents occur within 2 miles of your home is because that is where you do the most driving. Law of averages, according to my friendly neighborhood police officer.

    Wear it everywhere.

  82. - Robbie - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:42 pm:

    I generally don’t wear my seatbelt while driving in town. I certainly realize its value when traveling at high speeds on the interstate. I also will usually wear it when road conditions are bad and driving is more dangerous.

    Though I do hate that I am required by law to wear it. If I want to be dumb, why can’t I? You can ride around on a motorcycle with no seat belt or helmet, but I get a ticket if mine isn’t on? wtF?

    my mom was always paranoid about wearing one when I was a kid. She was convinced that if we got in an accident her seat belt would malfunction and trap her in a burning car. But then again my mom is wacked out from doing drugs in the 60’s and 70’s. Thanks to that attitude about seat belts is really why I never got into wearing them.

  83. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 2:47 pm:

    Congratulations Rich!! It worked the way it was supposed to work. Yeah, both of you were THAT close to cashing it all in or worse when your heads slammed the ground at 50+ mph. I just hate it when MY insurance company pays out the medical bills because a rebel refused to buckle up and is now paralyzed. You should go buy some lottery tickets because your planets must be lined up correctly.

  84. - Susana Mendoza - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:02 pm:

    Hi Rich,

    So glad to know you’re both ok!

    I always wear my seatbelt and make sure my passengers do too. My high school driver’s ed. teacher who also happened to be the athletic director, Mr. Bernard, was paralyzed when he was involved in a car accident with the high school’s football coach. Neither had their seatbelt on. The football coach was killed and Mr. Bernard didn’t have a scratch on his body, but became paralyed when the van flipped and he hit his head on the roof of the van. Imagine not getting a scratch on you and KNOWING that had your seatbelt been on, you could’ve walked away from the accident the way you did. He shared that story with all of his students so that we’d learn from his mistake. Anyway, he was a living example to me for why I should ALWAYS wear my seatbelt.

  85. - What can I say? - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:15 pm:

    I’ve been driving almost 30 years and don’t recall driving without a belt, I may have early on. I remember being in vehicles that didn’t have seat belts. Once my kids came along, in the early 80s, belts have always been mandatory. I always taught them that “seat belts mean I love you.”
    As for people who think it should be a matter of choice, that’s fine as long as you agree that your medical treatment stops as soon as your insurance runs out. No public money for you!

  86. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:17 pm:

    At least when people don’t wear seat belts, they endanger only themselves. People talking on cell phones endanger everyone else as well. How many of you can say you don’t do that?

  87. - Highland Online - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:22 pm:

    I never go beltless.

    In college I was a passenger in a car that was involved in a minor fender bender on the Poplar Street Bridge after a STL Cardinals ballgame. I was wearing my seat belt but realized that even low speed accidents could cause you some real harm. I’ve never hesitated to wear my seatbelt since that day.

    It’s become all the more important as we’ve taught our 5 year the importance of buckling up. Although he is going through a seatbelt nazi phase as he points out everyone not wearing their belt.

  88. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:26 pm:

    I wear it all the time…I know that others that don’t (people over 70), and they say it’s their business whether or not to wear one…I guess they’re right, but we all pay higher insurance premiums becuz of their decision not to…OUCH
    I hope you will heal quick Rich…please wear your seatbelt, we need you and the info you provide…

  89. - Labor Lobster - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:33 pm:

    Glad to hear you are both o.k. and my condolences to the AFSCME family on their loss.

    Always wear it. Like Montrose said, once we had a kid it became very apparent how important it is to to everything you can to stick around as long as possible… even if it means wrinkling my clothes (there’s a reader under the dome who knows I’m talking to him).

  90. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:35 pm:

    === People talking on cell phones endanger everyone else as well.====

    There are plenty of things that distract drivers, not just this enemy of the moment.

    Children, I’ve found, can be a huge distraction in the car. Want to ban them?

  91. - Ahem - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:48 pm:

    I witnessed a rollover accident in Chicago. It was a big family and all were buckled and all were unhurt. They landed up dangling upside down but it sure beats the alternative.

  92. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:56 pm:

    Cell phones can be present in cars, they just shouldn’t be used while driving. Children can be present in cars, but if they are providing a dangerous distraction you need to get them to settle down or pull over until they do so. Cell phones are not the “enemy of the moment,” they are a current and future enemy. I suppose you think texting while driving is okay too because children can on occasion be distracting. What logic.

  93. - anon1 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:57 pm:

    I always wear my seatbelt and whenever I am in a car I make sure people have them on, even in the backseat. I found though for some reason passengers in the back seem not to put it on as much in the front. I think they feel a sense of safety being in the back, which is insane to me.

  94. - Beancounter - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:59 pm:

    My car doesn’t start until everyone is properly belted in. Several of my daughter’s friends are apparently in the habit of tucking the shoulder strap under their arm. NOT in MY car. Also, we do a lot of driving on country roads. You just never know when you might have to hit the brakes. My daughter always yells “Seatbelts work!” when the belt engages. I don’t think it will be a problem getting her to buckle up in a few years when it is her turn to drive.

  95. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 3:59 pm:

    I remember when the law was in the GA. A leading opponent was Sen. Geo-Karis. She always said - she could protect herself in a crash by planting her arms against the dashboard. I suggested to the bill’s sponsor to ask her to fall forward onto the floor and catch herself with her arms. I don’t remember the physics, but I equated that with the impact of about a 10 mph crash. I don’t think she understood, but it was a good talking point.

  96. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:04 pm:

    My point, Anon, is that I try not to jump on every breathless bandwagon that comes down the pike. And I enjoy tweaking people who do.

  97. - Princeville - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:07 pm:

    Rich made me laugh with the thought of banning kids. I’ve threatened to pitch mine in the trunk more than once though after the first couple threats they learned I really didn’t mean it. But I have pulled over and just sat there waiting for the little monsters to get a grip on themselves. Whoever thinks kids are not a distraction has never been bombed on the head with a flying sippie, had their sit kicked by a temper tossing toddler or had jr. wing used kleenex at his sister. All things that make family travel trying times. I could handle cellphones if some would only use the cell and leave the Mickey D’s out of the other hand. I make my teenage son take his cell, but he’s not allowed to answer it while in motion.

  98. - got belted - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:09 pm:

    I started wearing my belt 24 years ago as a good example for my kids. (It really is true - kids are like wet cement - anything you drop on tehm leaves an impression.) I was never so happy I got into the habit than the day I rolled the pickup truck. I was scratched a bit, eldest son was scratched a bit, truck did not have an unbent piece of metal or unbroken piece of glass. We would have walked away if there had not been an off-duty ambulance driver behind us that would not let us.

  99. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:14 pm:

    My point is that if you can avoid an accident by a refraining from conduct that has caused many accidents, the seat-belt issue becomes moot. Better to avoid the accident than limit the damage. BTW, your readers must be the most law-abiding in the State, because they certainly don’t reflect the numbers I see wearing seatbelts.

  100. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:19 pm:

    did you have air bags? did they deploy?

    [this question may have been asked, but am too lazy to read through all of the comments.]

  101. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:21 pm:

    ===My point is that if you can avoid an accident by a refraining from conduct that has caused many accidents, the seat-belt issue becomes moot.===

    Moot? Are you serious?

    I wasn’t talking on the phone, eating, drinking anything or even listening to the radio when I had my accident. I wasn’t on any medication, I was fully rested and felt pretty alert. My hands were in the 10-2 position and I was sitting upright and looking intently at the road.

    But by your logic, I didn’t need to wear a seatbelt because I wasn’t distracted. That’s kinda weird.

    And it proves my point how some “evil of the moment” pumped up by elements in the media can cause people to lose their common sense and empathy.

  102. - Pattie - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:27 pm:

    the law went into effect just before I got into drivers ed. You were automatically failed if you did not put on the seat belt. That got me in the habit, and it feels weird when I don’t put it on, like something is missing.

    My boyfriend will drive off without his belt on and half way down the road, or mid-turn he’ll put it on. Drives me crazy when he does that.

  103. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:32 pm:

    And here’s the ultimate kicker. A few minutes ago my wife dinged a post with the replacement rental car, cracking the drivers side mirror housing. I can’t wait to see our next insurance bill.

    But at least now she’ll have to stop teasing me about my wreck, so I’ve got that going for me.

  104. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:38 pm:

    It becomes moot in the context of that specific avoided accident. I didn’t suggest that anyone shouldn’t wear a seatbelt. They should wear a seatbelt and not talk on the cell phone. But if they don’t talk on the cell phone, the chances that someone who is not wearing a seatbelt will be injured is less. I never suggested that you were talking on the cell phone at the time of the accident, although it sounds like you do at other times based on your defense of the practice, comparing it to having children present in the vehicle. When there is a single-car accident in bad weather, it is often the case that the driver is driving too fast for conditions.

  105. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:41 pm:

    You said the seatbelt issue was moot.

  106. - Doug Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    I never wear my seatbelt unless my daughter or wife are in the car. They will bug me until I put it on.

    Habbit I guess.

    Glad you are OK and you got to spend some time with Kenny.

  107. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:45 pm:

    ===Glad you are OK and you got to spend some time with Kenny.===

    That was the best part of the experience. We had a good ol’ time.

  108. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:55 pm:

    I said if you can avoid “an accident,” meaning in a specific case, the issue becomes moot. You’re skimming like Big Jim.

  109. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 4:56 pm:


  110. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:00 pm:

    And no airbag deployment. Didn’t hit anything.

  111. - Dave - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:04 pm:

    I have a little ritual. I fire up the car, drive out of the garage onto the driveway (I back in), press the button of the door opener remote, and use the time while the door is closing to buckle up. I won’t go beyond the sidewalk if everybody isn’t buckled in.

    My late father-in-law (deceased, but not in a car accident) would unfasten his seat belt when we turned onto his street after a trip. I’d recite, in a nasal voice, the admonition that you hear on airplanes: “Please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened until the aircraft has come to a complete stop at the gate.” I guess I was really irritating, but it worked.

  112. - Distant Observer - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:27 pm:

    My dad had one of the 1st ISP squads equiped with “experimental” seat belts (it was a 1958 Ford) which he flipped on a midnight shift chase in Logan County just north of the old US66 curve. After that, he bought seat belts and put then in all our cars (and his ISP squads) while insisting that all the kids wear them.
    Interestingly, ISP didn’t make them standard until the ’63s.

  113. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:28 pm:

    But on a lighter note, it’s a bummer you missed the concert.

  114. - curious george - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:38 pm:

    In 25 years of EMS response there were only 27 people that I encountered that died wearing seat belt in a crash… subtract the 17 in aircraft and racing accidents, the 2 suicide by car, that leaves 6! Those six would have died no matter what because of the severity of the crash. I remember countless scenes where a senseless death occured because the driver/parent/responsible party did not require their passengers to:

    Keep the message moving…. Buckle up …. Seatbelts save lives!

  115. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 5:49 pm:

    ===But on a lighter note, it’s a bummer you missed the concert.===

    That’s what was going through my mind as we were sliding on our side. lol

  116. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 6:06 pm:

    I wear the belt. Just ingrained, I guess.
    Plus the car makes an annoying beeping sound if I don’t fasten.
    Rich, bring on some more Albanian stories. That little snippet was facinating.

  117. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 6:26 pm:

    Got my driver’s license in 1967.
    Almost never use my seatbelt. Have acquiesced to my daughters’s insistance that I wear one on the Interstate. Chalk it up to a combination of:
    1) Habit, didn’t have to use one when I started.
    2) Personal Freedom, my RIGHT to chose (same as smoker’s argument).
    3) Big Brother, The State has its nose in enough of my business.
    Personally, I’m glad my daughters took Driver’s Ed., and were ‘indoctrinated’ into buckling up, without giving it a thought.
    And I probably should know better. The first summer of driving, I ‘cart-wheeled’ my step-dad’s car. Fortunately, it was just after a heavy rain, and the ground was soggy enough to cushion the effect. But I still remember, feeling like being in a clothes dryer.

  118. - Conehead - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 6:35 pm:

    Becoming a Parental Unit made me vigilant about seat belts for the kids but I forgot to buckle myself sometimes in town till I got a ticket two blocks from home. What a conehead. always wear it now.

  119. - with liberty for all..... - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 7:32 pm:

    Rich, for further evidence as to why you should wear your seatbelt try to find the news broadcast from Minneapolis titled “Room to Live”. The basics of it are that vehicles are designed to protect the passenger compartment and give the occupants room to live, that is, if they wear their seat belts and stay inside the protective cage. If you don’t wear your seat belt now, this short segment will change your mind.

  120. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 7:46 pm:

    If front sensors had hit ground or the impact was hard enough, airbags would have deployed [and raised insurance/repair bill by @ $2000+]. The point of seatbelts is that you have no idea when a DUI is going to blow a red light or stop sign; when 6 deer are going to hop the fence on the interstate and see if they can cross I57; when a sleepy or medicated driver is going to cross the median and hit you head on; when a black horse is going to get loose and surprise you some night; when someone 10 cars ahead of you is going to do something stupid and you are one of 6 vehicles going 65mph attempting to stop in 30′. No race car driver or fighter pilot would move without being strapped into place for good reason(s)… considering that it is safer to drive in a race than on the streets, buckling up is a no-brainer. For illustration of “no-brainer”, review CBS2 Chicago video coverage tailing Gov B around.

  121. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 7:46 pm:

    Rich-glad you and Mrs. are ok. The AA’s will say a prayer for our AFSCME colleague. Especially glad you’re ok ‘cuz someone has to referee the Holiday Party, right Bill?

    AA’s parents were both extraordinarily good drivers who needed a lot of coaxing to get into a seatbelt in their later years, but once it took, they never stopped. I’ve always had a fast car and never roll unbelted.

    With the kids,I borrowed the approach my older brother, a (retired) Naval Aviator used with his kids. He essentially taught a simple auto equivalent of the “before-start checklist” pilots of Beeches to Boeings use before they turn ‘er over. About 4-5 steps, with step 4 Fasten Seatbelt and Step 5 turn the key. Like any other rote or drill, if they learn it from the git-go, it sticks with them.

    My daughter took the front end off her car two month after she got her license; the car’s impact-absorbing design took most of the impact, with the seatbelts taking the rest. No airbag deployment. She and her passenger were uninjured. Had they been unbelted, the airbags would have deployed at full speed, with good bruises at a minimum, and a good possibility of broken bones or airbag burns.

    Her first boyfriend rolled his car late last year on a rural road. He was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car and was killed instantly.

    Moot that, Anon.

    A bit off-topic, but relevant to the season-I don’t think a number of automakers are doing their customers any favors with the wheel/tire combinations that are getting fitted to more and more cars/SUVs. With Rich’s Z3 and my little er, Volkswagen, we knew when we bought those cars that they came with “summer tires” that would be useless in snow or on ice. On the other hand, I see Buicks with 19″ summer tires, ‘Slades with 22’s (I like bling as much as the next guy, but that setup could flip on dry ground) and Nissan rentals with biiig wide 18’s..sitting in the median of I-55. Seat belts, Air bags, Traction Control, ABS, ESP…none of it is any good if you have no grip. I just looked at an AWD German Sedan with every safety gadget known to man and a set of tires made for a racetrack. Caveat emptor.

  122. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 8:18 pm:

    Wifey had a Boxster for a few years, it had really serious looking tires on it, faster than my guardian angel could fly (I refused to drive the P.O.S.! With 1/10th inch of snow you couldn’t steer the damn thing - most over rated car ever. If it isn’t all weather I don’t want to drive it. Safety and handling are too important as well as Defensive driving habits.

  123. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 8:39 pm:

    I have always worn a seat belt, can’t remember a time when I didn’t. My mom and brother always buckled up too, but my dad wouldn’t — he never said why, he just wouldn’t do it.
    I think he was either being stubborn, thought he was indestructible (he did survive the Battle of the Bulge and several other incidents that could have killed him) or maybe he had some crazy idea that safety precautions weren’t “manly.” He’s 84 years old and in a nursing home now, so his driving days are probably over. My mom has always said, only partly in jest, that his guardian angel worked overtime :)

  124. - NI80 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:04 pm:

    I will NOT go belt-less. My mom always made a major point of it when I was growing up, so it’s just a habit now, and anyone that rides in my vehicle must wear one as well. I also started wearing the seat belt while in the back seat, too, after an accident about two years ago. I was in the back seat and just happened to wear my seatbelt, for absolutely no reason, and a drunk driver plowed into the side of the car. I would have been all over the vehicle had I not been wearing one. I think it’s selfish not to wear a seat belt-it’s not a “right,” it’s common sense.

  125. - Laura - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:09 pm:


    so happy to hear you and your wife are OK. We’re on our way back from a road trip to CA with the family so I have a renewed appreciation for how crazy interstate driving can be! Seatbelts are a must.

  126. - Repub - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:37 pm:

    Happy to hear that you’re alright Rich.
    Personally I don’t think its the right of the government to regulate whether someone wears a seat belt. I usually wear a seat belt out of habit while I’m driving. However, when I’m a passenger I don’t always put one on.

  127. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:43 pm:

    A, if you go to their driving school you would like the Boxster a lot more. At least that’s what I’ve heard from my wealthy friends who have them. ;0) It’s definitely a fair-weather rig, though. There’s a guy in the ‘patch who drives his year-round-switches wheels/tires in the fall; says he does fine unless snow is heavy.

  128. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:46 pm:

    Thanks for the advice but I think I’ll stick with my ‘31 Essex Coupe - more my speed!

  129. - Highway Man - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:47 pm:

    After working for my dad towing cars for his auto shop for 6 years and then running an IDOT maintenance yard for 3 winters all I can say is STAY OFF THE ROADS DURING BAD WEATHER!!! Was Amtrack running Saturday? Could you have driven up Friday? My wife was suppose to fly into Midway Saturday afternoon from Vegas but I called her Friday afternoon and she changed her flight, I picked her up at 2AM Saturday morning, we arrived home at 5AM - it was well worth losing the sleep.

    I am glad to hear you are OK, and I don’t want to nag, but after having to send three snowplows out during the new year day’s blizzard a few years back to try and reach a stranded family of four because they were going ’shopping’ in Bloomington - I have to ask “what are you people thinking?”

    Sorry Rich, this topic touches a nerve.

  130. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 10:29 pm:

    Princeville and other central Illinois bloggers who remember the late, great Rick Baker of the Peoria Journal Star may recall that he died in an accident on I-74 in which his vehicle rolled over and he was not wearing his seat belt. His infant son was with him at the time, but was strapped into a car seat and survived without a scratch. We’re glad you were more careful and fortunate, Rich!

  131. - Former Illinois resident - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 12:01 am:

    Robbie, if you don’t wear a helmet on a bike, you might as well sign your donor card & just lay down & get ready to be harvested! NO helmet &/or no seatbelt is the dumbest thing ever!

  132. - archpundit - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 12:08 am:

    What I find most odd about these arguments about personal freedom is that if you are hit by someone else, a seat belt keeps you behind the wheel of the car and often helps you maintain control of the car. It’s not just about you. It’s about the other people on the road.

  133. - flexibility - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 1:40 am:

    I had pretty much the same reaction as “Highway Man - Wednesday, Dec 5, 07 @ 9:47 pm”. Once they have planned some totally discretionary travel, too many people will stick to their plans when the forecast deteriorate.

    Use Public Transportation


    Just Stay Home.

    The emergency workers and hospital staff in the towns along I-55, I-57, I-80, I-72 etc will thank you.

  134. - jlp - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 7:56 am:

    I wear a seat belt ALWAYS. And I am, like you, alive because of that. I had a very similar accident (my car was sideswiped on the Kennedy Expressway, and flipped over). I walked away with bruises and sore muscles. Without the seatbelt? I probably wouldn’t be here to write this.

  135. - Former Ottawan - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 8:42 am:

    I always use a seat belt. Ironically, when I was in drivers’ ed, Mom and I got into a fender bender the day we had watched crash footage in class. I had just been telling her (okay, maybe lecturing) that she should always wear a seat belt, then BANG! So I never go anywhere without a seatbelt. As for driving in bad weather, sometimes we have no choice - I had to drive from Rochelle to Galesburg once to get back to school from a speech meet I was judging. It started snowing, and I left as soon as the weather started deteriorating. If the Tollway Authority did their job and plowed 88 better, it wouldn’t have been a three-hour white-knuckle ride. 74 from outside the Quad Cities to Galesburg was perfect.

  136. - Burrito - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 9:15 am:

    I always wear my seatbelt, but the one time I was not wearing my seatbelt I was a passenger in the backseat of a car that was in an accident. I was ejected out the back windshield of the car, but came away unscathed without even a scratch. My buddy next to me had his belt on and ended up with a broken collar bone and collapsed young. I had just taken my belt off to get something out of my pocket just before the accident occurred. Bottom line I was very lucky just like RM, word to the wise always buckle up!

  137. - Skeeter - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 9:32 am:

    Not to digress too far —

    But it is unfortunate that more of the safety features in open wheel race cars are not incorporated into passenger cars. Seeing Kubica hit the wall head on in Canada and walk away with a minor headache, or seeing any of Dario Franchitti’s flips this year (he had at least two and teammate Marco Andretti went over a few times also) and both didn’t even miss a race tells you that real safety is a possibility.

    Also, at risk of getting too far off the subject — between BMW’s I owned a Mercedes C230. NOT recommended for snow or ice. If you are going German, stick to the Ultimate Driving Machine.

  138. - Dinged - Thursday, Dec 6, 07 @ 9:35 am:

    Really glad you’re OK. That’s scary stuff–AND a bummer about the concert.

    My dad–despite referring to helmet-less motorcyclists as “organ donors”–used to go without a seatbelt regularly. He finds it uncomfortable. Now, he’ll buckle up to stop the nagging of the “ding ding ding” in his truck. (I gave up the harassment after high school, so he has only the dashboard to glare at now.)

    I get nervous if there’s not a belt for me to use (e.g., in taxis and buses). A bunch of my friends were in an incredibly scary accident many years ago after a blowout on the Poplar St. Bridge (to StL). Those who’d been in the backseat and weren’t buckled in–well, they didn’t stay in the backseat long. They did, however, stay in the hospital for a long and frightening time.

    Again–really glad you’re OK.

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