Keep Your Feet off the Dash

Whether it’s a short or a long trip, being a passenger in a car can leave you a bit restless. Thinking about kicking back and putting your feet up on the dashboard? There’s only one word of advice for that thought: don’t!

Audra Tatum from Georgia thought nothing of it. That was before the crash that landed her in the hospital with serious injuries. She now has six screws and a metal rod in her leg. Bethany Benson of Ontario also had a similar incident. It left her with 100 stitches, multiple injuries to her legs and face, and many other serious problems.

Both women were passengers in a car and decided to stretch out a bit, putting their feet up on the dash. That was a big mistake. While they didn’t expect the crashes that led to their injuries, the real surprise was what hurt them the most – the airbag.

Upon impact, an airbag instantly flies out of the dash, inflating at a speed of just over 300 km/h. That’s a bit faster than the speed of a jumbo jet at takeoff. With feet and legs pressed against, the force comes out with all that fury, throwing the limbs back toward the body. For Audra and Bethany, it was a devastating and life-changing blow.

Airbags are designed to protect properly seated and buckled-up bodies from slamming into the dash and windshield. They have to open faster than your body flings forward. Putting legs, feet, or anything else up against the dash blocks the airbag hatch. And when that flies open, your own body parts are like shrapnel in an explosion.

So never put your feet on the dash! If you are a tired or restless passenger on a long haul, keep your legs under the dash, move to the back seat, or ask the driver to stop for a stretch break.

For more information

  • Air Bag Deactivation: How Air Bags Work, Transport Canada
  • Mom’s horrific accident shows why you should never put your feet on the dashboard, GlobalNews BC
  • Grave reminder not to put your feet up on the dashboard,

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Sam Jaworski
Sam Jaworski is a trial lawyer practicing in the areas of personal injury, class actions and mass torts. Sam’s class actions areas of interest include pharmaceutical and product liability, consumer claims, privacy and data breaches, and competition and anti-trust claims.