These are the five most dangerous ways to sit in a car
JOHANNESBURG - It doesn’t matter how many fancy safety gizmos and advanced crumple zones you have in your car - if you don’t sit correctly, and buckle up, your chances of surviving a crash are minimal.
Ensuring that every occupant in the car is wearing a seat belt should go without saying - without these ‘primary restraint’ devices, your airbags otherwise known as a ‘Supplemental Restraint System’ are rendered useless, and even potentially harmful. In fact, bucking up and sitting properly can reportedly increase your chances of survival by up to 67 percent.
This underlines the importance of using a car’s safety features correctly, says Eugene Herbert, managing director of advanced driving company MasterDrive.
“Many people, knowingly and unknowingly, sit in vehicles in ways that not only prevent the safety technology from working like it should but causes additional injuries,” Herbert said.
According to Herbert, these are the five most dangerous ways to sit in a vehicle:
Feet on the dashboard
If an airbag deploys while your feet are on the dashboard, instead of protecting you it can break bones in your legs, hips and/or back and even result in death.
With a child or pet on your lap
Not only will you rob the child or pet of the safety that a seatbelt, child seat or pet harness would bring, but if an airbag deploys it will slam into the child or animal while they continue their forward trajectory at the speed the car was moving.
Sitting in the back without a seat belt
During an accident, unrestrained unrestrained people, animals and unsecured objects will slam into the front seats at the speed that the vehicle was moving. While this could result in only injuries to unrestrained passengers in the back, it could also kill front passengers as they are squeezed between the force from the back and the seatbelt in the front.
To put things into perspective, the passenger in the back can slam into the front seat at the weight of an elephant in a car that is travelling at 60km/h.
Not wearing a seatbelt correctly
According to MasterDrive, a seatbelt should be worn with the bottom part across your hip bones and the section that crosses your body should rest on your collarbone. It should not be against your neck or be worn under the arm. Wearing a seatbelt correctly ensures the impact is absorbed by the strongest parts of your body and protects from internal injuries and broken ribs.
Slouching in your seat
It’s also important to avoid sitting with your seat as far back and low as is possible with one arm straight out holding the steering wheel. This reduces not only your visibility but also your control of the car. It’s best to position your seat so that if you straighten your arms you can rest your wrists on top, while still having a slight bend in your arms.