According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the steering
wheel should sit 10 inches away from the driver’s chest for optimal
safety. However, many drivers don’t abide by this rule, and because
of the way drivers’ airbags are designed, sitting too close can
be very dangerous.
Usually drivers sit too close to the steering wheel because of their height.
Sitting closer may allow shorter drivers, especially those under 5’
5”, to see above the wheel more clearly. Typically this is an issue
for women and elderly drivers, who must adjust their seat nearly all the
way forward in order to reach all components comfortably.
The DMV encourages shorter drivers to sit as far back as they can while
still able to reach the top of the steering wheel, and both the gas and
break petals. This gives the airbag room to deploy in case of an accident.
If the driver is sitting too close while the airbag deploys, they will
feel the full impact of the airbag on their chest.
While an airbag injury is likely less dangerous than the impact the driver
would sustain without airbag technology, airbags can still be very dangerous,
and in some cases have proven deadly. To stay on the safe side, airbag
injury should be avoidable with proper driver positioning. For drivers
that are unable to sit 10 inches from the wheel comfortably, try adjusting
the seat back position, setting it at less of a decline so that you are
positioned more upright. You may also consider investing in petal alterations
so that you can fully reach the petals while keeping your body at a safe range.
Some drivers also adjust their steering wheels to point upward, bringing
it closer to them at an angle, but this can also be dangerous. Because
of the way airbags are designed to deploy, pointing your steering wheel
upward will cause it to point at your head or neck, which could lead to
serious injuries like whiplash. Always make sure that your airbag is pointed
towards your chest.
At Todd Miner Law we see car accident injuries on a daily basis, and we
are passionate about helping Orlando drivers stay safe. If you have been
injured by an airbag during a car accident, our attorneys can help. We
can consult with you and assist in seeking compensation for medical bills,
damages, and lost wages. Do not hesitate to contact our firm about your injury.
For your consultation, contact Todd Miner Law.