Feet on Dashboard Accidents
When it comes to road safety, we often focus on factors such as speed limits, seat belts, and defensive driving. However, there’s one overlooked habit that poses a serious risk to passengers: resting your feet on the dashboard. While it may seem like a comfortable and harmless position during a long drive, the consequences can be severe and even life-altering. Sitting this way in a car accident not only increases the risk of catastrophic injury, it may also affect an insurance claim and/or personal injury settlement amount. Read our article to learn more about feet on dashboard accidents and how to stay safe.
Feet on the Dashboard Can Worsen Injuries in an Accident
Certain safety features within the vehicle are designed for one position only: sitting with your feet flat on the floor and the seat in an upright position. This is true for both the passenger and the driver:
Feet on the Dashboard Reduces Seatbelt Efficacy
Seat belts save lives, but only when used correctly. They are designed to restrain occupants during a collision and prevent them from being thrown forward. However, if your feet are on the dash in an accident, the seat belt’s effectiveness is compromised. The force of the impact can propel your lower body upward, resulting in potential injuries to the chest, neck, and head.
Furthermore, the area of restraint changes when your feet are on the dashboard. Seatbelts are meant to rest over the lap and across the chest. When you change positions to rest your legs up, the belt can migrate over your abdomen, where sensitive organs can be impacted in the event of a crash.
Airbags Can Become Deadly When Feet are on the Dash
Modern vehicles are equipped with airbags as an essential safety feature. Airbags deploy rapidly during a collision to protect occupants from hitting hard surfaces like the steering wheel or dashboard. Sitting upright and properly positioned within your seat ensures that the airbags can effectively protect you in the event of an accident.
Feet on dashboard accidents can be particularly grisly, even deadly, if the airbag deployed. Rather than cushioning your head and chest from impact, your legs can be forcefully sent back toward your face, resulting in catastrophic injuries that may otherwise have not occurred. There have been horrifying accounts of hips being completely dislocated and permanent facial disfigurement as a result of such an innocuous action.
Less Control While Driving
A passenger with his or her legs up on the dash can obscure the driver’s view by blocking mirrors and blind spots. And as a driver, sitting with your feet anywhere other than the floor reduces your visibility and response time. In the event you are sitting cross-legged while driving, for example, you will be unable to brake in time if a sudden need arises. Your ability to view vehicles in your blindspots may also be reduced, increasing the risk of an accident.
Can A Feet on Dashboard Accident Affect my Settlement?
In some cases, yes. The driver is ultimately responsible for his or her passengers, and this includes ensuring everyone is buckled in and sitting properly. Even if the collision was not the driver’s fault, he or she may still be found partially responsible for personal injuries sustained by an improperly seated passenger.
In Colorado, comparative negligence laws allow for the reduction of a settlement amount based on the extent to which a plaintiff was responsible. While the injuries may not have occurred at all if it weren’t for the negligence of another driver, the severity of the injuries may also not have been as great if the victim was seated properly. Such situations can thus have a negative impact on final settlement amounts for personal injury.
What To Do in a Feet on Dashboard Accident?
As we have discussed, feet on dash accidents can be very serious. The first thing you should do if you are involved in one is seek immediate medical care. You may have sustained significant injuries that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Your next step should be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she can help build a case that will make it more difficult for your settlement to be reduced simply because you were resting your feet on the dashboard. Again, injuries sustained in feet on dash accidents can be life altering. You should not have to deal with mentally taxing claims and legal proceedings while you recover.
If you have been involved in a feet on dashboard accident in Colorado, please call Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave is a skilled and compassionate attorney who understands the complexities involved in these cases. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.