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Feet on the Dashboard? Know the Dangers…

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  February 11, 2020   |  

Everyone knows that riding with your feet on the dashboard of a vehicle is unsafe.  The injuries could be severe if you are involved in a wreck or if the airbags deploy.

If you can’t convince the person riding shotgun to keep their feet on the floor, this image should do the trick!

Here is an X-ray of horrific injuries sustained to the front seat passenger who had their feet on the dashboard at the time of a collision. If you see your passenger doing it stop driving and show them this:

This X-ray shows the aftermath of a car accident in which a young woman in Wales was riding with her feet up on the dashboard. One of her femurs is snapped, one hip is broken in the socket and the other has been dislocated very far from where it should be.

The police who released the photo of her X-ray describe the woman’s injuries as “life-changing.”

In 2015, Audra Tatum, from Georgia, was permanently disabled after a minor accident.  The problem was that she had her feet on the dashboard and the deploying airbag threw her foot into her face, breaking her nose, femur, and her ankle in four different places. She also broke her arm trying to stop the impact.  The other passengers in the car only received minor scratches and bruises.

“Basically, my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance,” Tatum said. “I’m not Superman.  I couldn’t put my foot down in time.” Audra was an EMT. After the accident she could no longer perform her job.  “All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash.  My husband always told me, ‘You’re going to get in a wreck someday, and you’re going to break your legs.'”

Airbags Improve Safety… But Can Be Dangerous

Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 miles per hour.  If you ride with your feet on the dash and you are involved in an accident, the airbag could send your knees through your face, breaking more than your nose.

It is important to wear your seatbelt with your feet on the floor and sit up straight. No one ever wants to be in an auto wreck but sitting in this position will best protect you should you be in an accident.

It is also important to know that if you or a loved one is injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault (even if you have your feet on the dash and even if you are not wearing a seat belt) we may be able to help.

The insurance company and the defendant are prohibited from using this information against you.

We’ve seen several clients at Riddle & Brantley who likely would not be here with us today if not for the life-saving effects of airbags. As a car accident attorney for more than 30 years, Gene Riddle has seen first-hand the undeniable advantages of airbags when a person is involved in a car crash. Nevertheless, keep in mind that airbags deploy at powerful speeds and can injure the person they encounter.

Unquestionably, some drivers and passengers are hurt by the airbag when it deploys. However, the safety benefits of airbags far outweigh the risks.

Types of airbag injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Injuries to the eyes
  • Broken nose
  • Abrasions
  • concussions
  • Bruising
  • Burns or abrasions from the speed at which the airbag deploys
  • Bruising to internal organs and/or internal bleeding
  • Lung irritations from chemicals released upon deployment

Usually, airbags deploy when the crash sensor senses a moderate to severe crash, but minor crashes may also signal the sensor to deploy.  In the above wreck, if the woman’s feet were on the floor, instead of the dash, the airbag deployment may still have caused her injury such as a broken nose, but it is unlikely her injuries would be as severe.  The cases involving injury from airbags are mostly focused on airbags that deploy when they are not supposed to deploy.

Airbag Safety

During an automobile crash, airbags reduce the chance of the upper body and head striking any part of the interior of the vehicle. They are designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts. To prevent an airbag related injury, here are some things to remember:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Keep your feet on the floor
  • Children under the age 13 should always sit in the back seat
  • Be sure to position the seats as far back from the steering wheel or dashboard as possible

Are airbags worth it? Definitely! Just make sure you keep both feet on the floor.  The dashboard is no place to rest your legs and feet.  Even though we all do it from time to time, let’s remember in the future to sit with our feet on the floor and wear our seat belts.

Injured in a Car Accident?

Call the North Carolina car accident lawyers at Riddle & Brantley.  We are here to help.

The consultation is always free, and we will be glad to evaluate your situation and let you know if we think you have a case.

Please call us at 1-800-525-7111 or fill out the quick form below.

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