Despite the effectiveness of seat belt use and legislation, seat belt use rate is low in Turkey. The aim of this study was to investigate the motives to use and not to use a seat belt in different traveling conditions in a sample of car drivers and passengers. Interviews were made face to face with 221 interviewees from different age and occupation groups. Frequently reported reasons for using a seat belt were traveling conditions, safety, situational conditions, habit of using a seat belt, and avoiding punishment. Frequently reported reasons for not using a seat belt were situational conditions, not believing in the effectiveness, discomfort and having no habit. Safety was the strongest predictor of reported seat belt use in both low and high risk traveling conditions. Findings suggest that seat belt campaigns should mainly emphasize seat belt's safety impact and aim at habit formation. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.