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Don’t Get Too Comfortable

- January 12, 2018 by Dan Heinen, ASP (View all posts by Dan)

If you follow any of my blogs you will notice I post quite a bit about hazards on the road. If you travel with someone or have a passenger ride with you, then this blog may be of interest. One thing I see quite a bit (and I can’t understand why), are people riding with their feet on the dashboard.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHSTA) an airbag is designed to rapidly deploy in moderate to severe front end collisions. And by rapidly I mean in 1/20th of a second.I did a Google search on “Injuries from feet being on the dash when an airbag goes off” and I was shocked. I had no idea exactly how horrific the results could be.  My thought was broken noses, twisted or possibly fractured leg or knee but what came up left me stunned.

A lady in Georgia had her nose, ankle, femur and arm broken, “Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance,” she stated.

A 26 year old lady in Michigan had her knees driven into her face. Her left eye socket, cheekbone and nose were broken. Her jaw was dislocated, a tooth cut through her lower lip and she would lose her spleen. Both feet were broken and compressed, and would eventually end up nearly two sizes smaller than they were before the crash. Her left pupil would remain permanently dilated affecting her vision, her hearing would remain altered and her memory would be wiped and rebooted like a faulty computer program. But perhaps the most dangerous injury would be the one her mother was told at the time not to worry about: a brain bleed.

A trauma surgeon wrote about a woman’s toes that were amputated as the vehicle she was in flipped onto its roof, her foot pushed outside the window from the force of the airbag and was drug across the asphalt.

When you drive for either work or pleasure ensure that your passenger is not only wearing their seatbelt but do not allow them to put their feet on the dash. Be aware of how far back they recline as well. Seatbelts are designed to go across the shoulder and ride low on the waist right above the hips. If they are reclined to far back they may not get the protection form it in an impact which can increase the chances of an injury from an airbag. And if you are a passenger, keep your seat upright, as far as possible your feet on the floor and off the dash, (and not outside the window).

Like any safety feature, airbags are designed to provide protection provided they are used properly. Injury can occur just like misusing a tool, bypassing a safety device on a machine, or ignoring a set policy or procedure.