My family did a good job teaching me the importance of wearing a seat belt.
Maybe too good.
I was (or am?) basically the seat belt police.
When I was very young (but old enough to buckle myself), I’d throw a fit if the car was even put into drive or reverse in the driveway before I had my seat belt on. The car could not even be prepared to move without this very important piece of safety equipment, despite the absolutely guaranteed safety of the driveway.
As I grew up, I’d notice drivers–my best friend’s dad or my future brother-in-law, for example–not wearing their seatbelts. It was a real problem for me. I couldn’t let it go.
In the case of my friend’s dad, I’d quietly say from the back seat…”Um…Mr. Curtis? Do you have your seat belt on?” even though I could plainly see from the seat behind him that he did not. He’d chuckle and click it into place. Similarly, I’d request that my sister’s boyfriend buckle up. He’d purposely drive like a crazy person just to freak me out, but Tim couldn’t say no to me, so he’d put his seat belt on.
Come to think of it, I think I was more like a seat belt angel…
When my husband and I started dating 16 years ago, he was the next to be so positively influenced by my seat belt concerns*. He rode a crotch rocket motorcycle and drove a two-door Saturn stick–he was significantly more wild than I. I’d fold myself into his car and give him about 45 seconds worth of a chance to put his seat belt on, and then…”are you going to put your seat belt on?” (Note: Now he always wears it. Win!)
Even as an adult, seatbelts are a thing. I encourage (but do not enforce) passengers in the backseat to wear theirs. As for me, sometimes after I’ve stopped to grab the mail at the end of the driveway, I pull into the garage only to find I put my seat belt back on. Without even realizing it. I won’t talk about how uncomfortable and anxious I am if I’m in a vehicle without proper restraints. Yikes.
Who knows how many people have internalized this life-saving habit thanks to my gentle reminders. 😇
*In “researching” for this short piece, I had the following convo with my husband via text and I believe it is worth sharing.