Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety: Myth vs Fact

This page shows interesting information used in our Facebook Myth vs. Fact campaign for the Northeast Region.

Click each myth to reveal the truth!

Consider the law of physics. If you crash or slam on your brakes, your car comes to a sudden stop, but your body will keep moving until it is stopped - by the windshield, dashboard or pavement. Use the following formula to determine the appropriate force it takes to restrain a person in a crash.

Speed of Car x weight of passenger
(Ex. 40 mph x 150 lbs = restraining force of 6000 lbs.)

Do the math. Could you bench press 6000 lbs? Can you realistically stop yourself from colliding into your passengers?

Myth: My vehicle has air bags, so I do not need to wear a seat belt.

Even if your vehicle has air bags, always wear your seat belt. When are bags are used alone, they are only 11% effective. However, the combination of a properly worn seat belt and use of an air bag can reduce the risk of death by 63%.

Myth: When there are winter road conditions, as long as I slow down and set my cruise control I should be okay.

If you must be out traveling during winter road conditions, it is very important that you slow down and be aware of those around you, however, you never want to set your cruise control.  By doing so, if your car skids it will accelerate and rapidly spin the wheels since it will be trying to maintain a constant speed. You will be more likely to lose control of your vehicle.

Myth: If my car catches fire or is submerged, I would rather be thrown than trapped.

Less than ½ of 1 % of crashes involve either water or fire, plus the odds of your safety belt not releasing are minimal. Wearing a safety belt stops your body from being thrown around inside or outside the vehicle. A safety belt decreases the chances you’ll get hurt or knocked unconscious by firmly keeping you in place—there’s no way you can escape if you’re knocked unconscious.  In 2005, of 742 crashes involving driver ejections, 658 (almost 96%) of the drivers were not wearing their safety belts.

Fact: If I have had just a little bit to drink, I just always call someone to come pick me up.

Buzzed driving is considered operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) .01% to .07% - under the legal limit. So although it is not illegal, buzzed driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. 

Myth: Driver's Education is just another summer class, and I will not learn anything helpful from the class about roadway safety.

While not all states require an individual to take driver's education, it is a valuable resource for new drivers. The class not only teaches how to properly drive, but also teaches state laws and safety practices while on the road. 

Fact: Driving through any amount of water over the road can be dangerous.

While a little water over the road may not seem dangerous, you never want to drive through high water.  You cannot see what is under the water, such as debris or a washed away roadway. It is always best to find another route until the water has receded. Turn around, don't drown!

Myth: I do not need to buckle in my child if we are just traveling a short distance.

Children should always be properly restrained in the vehicle no matter the distance you are traveling. In 2019, 13 children less than eight years of age were killed and 52 suffered serious injuries as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in Missouri.  Thirty-five percent of the children killed and seriously injured were not restrained in a car seat or safety belt.

Myth: It is safe to cross the street when the pedestrian signal indicates I can go. 

Never rely only on pedestrian signals.  You always need to check all ways before crossing the street. Never assume a vehicle is going to stop. Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings as well. In preliminary 2020 data, 128 pedestrians were killed in Missouri and 315 were seriously injured.