Critical Incident - SEAT BELTS

Critical incident: Security first – Fasten the seatbelt!
On my week of exchange I hosted an Italian girl. We did not have many differences in our cultures. Both of our countries are in the Mediterranean so, we ate similar food, we had similar ways to greet and our personalities were much alike. We also had similar tastes and we did not have any shameful situation. Although our similarities we were used to different little things like drying our body with towels instead of burnouse, or eating soup with chicken broth with pasta instead of vegetable soup (minestrone). The thing which worried me most was the seatbelt. I did not know if in Italy they fasten their seatbelts on the back seats of the car. The first day on the car she did not fasten it, and I had to tell her that it was better for our security. She said that in Italy they are used to wear the seatbelts on but she got distracted when she came into the car.
Some days after, my mum had to carry a girl from Bulgaria and she was perfectly sat when in the middle of the way we become aware that she did not have her seatbelt on. We told her and she put it on immediately while she told us that in Bulgaria they are not used to fastening the back seatbelts.
The same day, we carried a Swedish boy to his hosting house nearby. What worried me the most was the seatbelt. Sweden is the furthest country which we did the exchange, and I thought it would be awkward to tell him like a mum to fasten his seatbelt. What impressed me the most was that in the twinkling of an eye, he had fastened his seatbelt, and also faster than me so no more worries.
Why so many differences? Further countries we are, more differences we have. That was my first thought, and it is logical if you stop thinking on it. Maybe in Bulgaria it is not normal to have the seatbelt tied at the back seats of the car. But what is de difference between Bulgaria and Sweden? If these two countries are almost the same length far away from mine, why there were so many cultural differences between them?  We cannot avoid situations like this because we have different cultures, but what we can do is before starting the trip, care about security and tell everybody to be aware of the own safety.


After the exchange, one day at school I heard two teachers talking about car security and the fines you have to pay if the police officer sees you without the seat belt and it came to my mind a question: Do we fasten the back seat belts for security or do we want to avoid paying a fine? Maybe the answer is different in each country and it can also be different between people of different ages. In my opinion teenagers are more aware of security and adults more aware of their pocket.
For further information you can have a look at these three pages:
The first one has an article about car safety features and it is a BBC page to prepare the GSCE. So you can see that in Britain they are also concerned about security.
This link is sponsored by Toyota, to promote a Vehicle Safety
Education Program. Each time cars are better, faster but also more efficient in security.
In this youtube video you can watch the consequences of not having a seat belt fastened. This realistic simulation should be watched by any person who drives alone or with children in the car

Andrea

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