When you drive your vehicle, you often do not consider the position of your seat or even your steering wheel. You have buckled up, and you follow the rules of the road; therefore, you do not worry about what will occur during an accident. You feel comfort is key, which is why you position your steering wheel and seat to a point where you feel comfortable driving.
However, the angle and positioning of your seat as well as your steering wheel could be a determining factor in the severity of injuries you encounter in an accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a driver must have at least 10 inches between themselves and the steering wheel to mitigate this risk. This is because the sheer force of an airbag can generate almost two thousand pounds at speeds of over 200 miles per hour; therefore, sitting closer than 10 inches could result in severe catastrophic injuries or even death.
How to Stay Safe While Driving
There are things you can do to prevent injuries while driving your vehicle – and remain as comfortable as possible. These include:
- Angle Your Steering Wheel Properly – Tilt your steering wheel so that it does not face your head or chest. It should be angled slightly upward or away from your body to prevent causing internal injuries or head trauma if the airbag does deploy.
- Adjust the Seat – If your seat is more than 10 inches away, you may not need to adjust. But, if your seat is less than 10 inches from the steering wheel, slide it back to a point where you are still comfortable and able to reach the pedals, but with 10 inches distance. Most modern vehicles come with pedal adjustments that can bring the pedals closer to you so that you can still push your seat far enough away from the steering wheel and dashboard.
- Recline Your Seat – Recline your driver’s seat to an angle that keeps the top half of your torso away from the steering wheel and airbag’s direct path. It is important to ensure that your chest and head are not directly exposed to the airbag and instead the airbag is a device only present if your body lunges forward in the accident.
- Install Pedal Adjusters – If your vehicle did not come with pedal adjusters, you may be able to have them installed. Companies offer aftermarket adjustments so that shorter individuals can still maintain a safe distance from their steering wheel while reaching the pedals.
Contact an Attorney for Your Car Accident and Associated Injuries
If you follow all of the safety procedures and are still injured because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law regarding your injuries at 877-678-3400 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.