Another Look at Airbags

AirbagDo you have any comment on the new trend out there of passengers riding in cars with their feet up on the dash of the car? This may be a comfortable position but it would quickly become life threatening if the car were in a crash and the airbag they are resting their feet on deploys. I know that as the wife of a paramedic that whenever we drive past someone riding in this position it makes him cringe.

I would often notice this while on patrol and I would stop the vehicle and speak with the passenger. Many times I could see them looking at me like I was not making any sense and I wondered if I was wasting my breath. They would sit up properly but I suspect that only lasted until I was out of sight.

Few people seem to realize that an airbag deployment is really a contained explosion that involves tremendous force. Your heels would go from the dashboard to somewhere behind your ears in the blink of an eye. I have no doubt in my mind that you would not get out and walk away after the vehicle came to a stop post collision.

I like to find references to include with the web version version of this column. However, a half hour of searching failed to find any other than those relating to children in car seats and manufacturers sites explaining about out of position sensors for second generation airbags.

Instead, I fell back on advice I often give and referred to the owner's manual for my car. That left no doubts, in highlighted text in boxes designed to stand out was the advice to sit up straight, don't lean against the sides of the vehicle, don't rest body parts on or near airbag panels and don't let rear seat passengers lean forward and hold onto the seatback or headrests.

If you haven't before, read yours now!


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