Life these days moves at a frantic pace. Everyone, from Mom and Dad down to the smallest members of the household has places to go and things to do. Those things require a lot of stuff. Vehicles become giant stuff holders on wheels. All of this seems pretty benign until that stuff gets thrown around a vehicle that comes to a sudden and unexpected stop.
Consider this: an object resting loosely on the floor of a minivan is harmless as the vehicle moves safely down I-70. Maybe that object is a back pack or a bag of groceries, weighing at roughly twenty pounds. Now suddenly the van, which has been traveling at around 55 miles an hour comes to a screeching stop. The jolt and jar of the sudden halt is bad enough.
That 30 pound object is still traveling at 55 miles per hour. Only now, it becomes a projectile with 1,000 pounds of force behind it. Imagine the potential for severe or even fatal injury if that item strikes a member of the family riding around in the vehicle. No amount of restraints or other safety features can protect a human being from the force.
The thing to consider is that anything that is unsecured in the car has the potential to become a dangerous -or even deadly- projectile under the right circumstances. Even if there is no major motor vehicle crash, a sudden stop can launch ordinary items into kill-maim-and-injure mode.
Here are a few tips that can help keep you and your family safe.
1. Pack extra stuff in the cargo area of the vehicle, whether that is in the trunk, behind the seat in a truck, or in the back of a minivan. Secure loose items with a net or other tethers. No matter how much of a hurry you feel, never leave without putting things properly in their place.
2. Just leave the stuff you do not need at home.
3. Place heavy cargo securely against hard targets that are securely bolted down. For example, stow a heavy back pack wedged under the back seat.
4. Take advantage of the family-friendly storage options in most newer family vehicles.
5. Insist on wearing your seat belt; insist on every passenger wearing a seat belt. Human bodies can become projectiles, too.
6. Larger and bulkier objects should be stored in the floor, secure against fixed interior parts, and toward the center of the vehicle.
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