Feet on the Dashboard: A Big “No-No”!

Sep 19, 2023Safety Tips

Feet on the Dashboard During an Accident Increases Chances for Hip Fractures, Paralysis

Riding with your feet on the dashboard may be one of the best (and only) ways to get comfortable on a long drive. When you are sitting in the passenger’s seat for hours on end, putting your feet up and stretching your legs can be crucial for getting through the miles to come, but it’s a dangerous position…

If there is an accident when a passenger has their feet on the dashboard, he or she faces an increased risk of life-altering injuries.

Risks for Passengers with Their Feet on the Dashboard

Most frontal airbags are designed to deploy with a minimum of 10 inches of space between the airbag cover and the driver or passenger they are supposed to protect. When a passenger has his or her legs on the dashboard, this distance is reduced to zero. As a result, the passenger’s legs are hit with the full force of the airbag’s deployment. This has two adverse consequences: (i) it prevents the airbag from providing the protection it is supposed to provide; and, (ii) it can cause serious injuries to the passenger’s legs and spine.

For example, passengers who are riding with their feet on the dashboard when a vehicle’s airbags deploy will often suffer:

  • Hip Fractures – The forces exerted on the hips when an airbag deploys can fracture the femur (thigh bone) and the bones in the pelvis (the ilium, ischium and pubis). In many cases, passengers will suffer fractures on both sides. Not only are hip fractures serious and painful injuries that require extensive treatment and a prolonged recovery, but they can present risks for soft tissue damage, nerve damage, infections and other complications as well.
  • Paralysis – The forces exerted during an airbag’s deployment can also cause spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis. This can either be full or partial paralysis depending on where exactly a passenger’s injury occurs. Paralysis is often permanent; and, in addition to requiring long-term care, passengers who suffer paralysis can face altering side effects.
  • Other Leg and Back Injuries – Along with hip fractures and paralysis, airbags can also cause various other types of leg and back injuries. These range from fractures to burns, and from soft tissue damage to nerve damage. Back injuries can also lead to bladder and bowel dysfunction as well as other organ-related issues; and, even when injured passengers are able to walk, they will still often face challenges in all aspects of their day-to-day lives.
  • Chest and Head Injuries – Another risk associated with airbag deployment while riding with feet on the dashboard is the risk of chest and head injuries. When the airbag in the dashboard deploys, this can trust the passenger’s legs backward into the passenger’s chest or face. This can cause injuries ranging from collapsed lungs to concussions—and these injuries can also entail long, difficult and expensive roads to recovery.

Feet on Dashboard Can Worsen Car Accident Injuries

Experienced airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years. As such an experienced lawyer, he knows that having your feet on the dashboard is risky and can worsen injuries in a car accident. He urges all vehicle passengers to please exercise caution and reconsider the practice.