‘Keep your feet of the dashboard’

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Sitting with your feet on the dash board is very dangerous when the vehicle you are travelling in, is involved in an accident.
Sitting with your feet on the dash board is very dangerous when the vehicle you are travelling in, is involved in an accident.
Photo: Supplied

How and where you sit in a vehicle can have a massive impact on your safety if you are involved in a road-accident.

“Many cars nowadays are made with such advanced safety features, but how we sit in a car is often our biggest safety precaution,” says Barend Smit, marketing director of MotorHappy.

Smit points out a few risky ways to sit in a vehicle:

Feet on dashboard

If you are sitting in the front passenger seat with your feet on the dashboard, it changes the way the seat belt rests on your body. If you are involved in an accident, your upper body could flip over the belt, causing injury to your abdomen and back.

If the front airbags are deployed, your knees would be pushed into your face. Airbags usually inflate at about 320 km/h, causing considerable damage to especially your feet, legs, and head when you sit in this position.

Passenger seat reclined

When you recline the passenger seat, the seat belt no longer fits the way it is meant to. Instead of fitting over the chest and lap, it moves to your neck and abdomen, and in an accident, this could damage your neck and internal organs.

Wearing the seat belt under your arm

The seat belt is designed to fit your body in a certain way. When it is over your shoulder, it crosses over your collarbone, which is strong. When you wear the seat belt under your arm, it crosses your ribs, which are weaker than your collarbone. Additionally, when the seat belt is under your arm and you are involved in an accident, it is unable to stop your torso from propelling forward and colliding with the airbag that is deploying at 320 km/h.

Third row seats

Third row seats are not usually as stable as middle and front row seats. They are usually placed quite close to the rear of the vehicle, which means passengers in the third row are more likely to be injured in a rear-end collision.

Riding with a child or dog on your lap

Riding as a passenger in the front seat with your child or dog on your lap is dangerous, again, because of the speed at which the airbag inflates. Positioned between you and your airbag, your child or pet would be seriously injured (if not killed) and the force at which they slam into your abdomen could cause you serious internal injuries too.

“Children should always be safely secured in the back seat, with the correct child’s seat for their weight and height. Pets are also safest if they are wearing a harness that is buckled to the seatbelt or in a secured carrier."
Barend Smit

“The safest spot for adult passengers is usually the least comfortable spot: The middle of the back seat is the safest place in a car. (If your vehicle have three rows, it would be the middle seat in the middle row.)

Adults in this seat are usually the furthest from the point of impact and are insulated by the other passengers.

However, this spot is only the safest spot if the car is equipped with a secure seat belt for this seat.”

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Do you think the EFF’s shutdown on Monday was successful?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, it was mild and missed the mark
86% - 4002 votes
Yes, it gripped South Africa’s attention
14% - 660 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.