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. 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-sustained 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. Consult with us, and let us assist you in seeking compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
For your consultation, contact Todd Miner Law.