The correct seating position is key to vehicle safety
How you sit in a car can have a big effect on your safety and the safety of your passengers during an accident.
Modern cars are much safer than their older counterparts with even entry level vehicles featuring a variety of driver assistance systems and safety equipment such as airbags these days. However, how you sit in a car can have a big effect on your safety and the safety of your passengers during an accident.
Sitting the incorrect distance from the steering wheel
Sitting too close to the steering wheel is just as dangerous as sitting too far from the steering wheel as both extremes will not allow for optimum control. When seated with your shoulders against the backrest and gripping the steering wheel there should be a slight bend in your elbows and you should be able to press the pedals without leaning forward. Similarly, the height of your seat should allow you to see over the steering wheel and most of the bonnet.
Sitting too close to the steering wheel will not give the seatbelt enough time to stop you from colliding with the steering wheel or airbag should you be involved in a collision and sitting too far from the dashboard could mean that you don’t have optimal visibility or control of the car. The seats of modern cars offer a variety of adjustment as do the steering wheel, so there is really no excuse for finding the optimum seating position.
Putting your feet on the dashboard
Sitting in the front passenger seat with your feet on the dashboard is a very bad idea as it changes the way the seat belt rests on your body. If you are in an accident while sitting in this position, your upper body could flip over the belt, causing injury to your abdomen. In addition, the passenger airbag will deploy from the dashboard and will then force your legs backward into your face instead of cushioning your body in the way it was designed.
Driving with the passenger seat reclined
If the passenger seat is reclined too far backwards, the seatbelt will no longer be able to keep the occupant in place sufficiently. In the event of an accident passengers could slide under the belt or the seatbelt which could injure their neck and internal organs.
Wearing the seat belt under your arm
The seatbelt is designed to fit your body a certain way. When it is over your shoulder it crosses over your collarbone, which is optimal. When you wear the seatbelt under your arms it is directly across your ribs, which are much weaker than your collarbone. If the seatbelt us under your arm it will not be able to sufficiently slow down your torso which is being propelled forward and will collide with the airbag while it is deploying.
Driving with a child or pet on your lap
Travelling as a passenger in the front seat with a child or pet on your lap is extremely dangerous as they will be positioned between the passenger and the airbag which will most certainly lead to serious injuries.
Adjust your mirrors
Your mirrors are critical to driving safely. Make sure your mirrors are adjusted for your optimum seating position so that you don’t need to lean forward or tilt your head to see out of the rear view or side mirrors.