Watching others doing the driving can be great. Some passengers see this as a cue to make themselves nice and comfortable and enjoy the ride with their feet on the dashboard.
Do it at your own peril, accident research experts say.
Passengers in the front seat of a car should sit upright regardless of whether the journey is just a quick spin to the supermarket or a long drive to the holiday destination.
People who lounge around and put their feet on the dashboard should expect serious or even fatal consequences in the event of an accident, according the safety inspection agency Dekra.
If the airbag deploys, the legs are jerked backwards and “out of position” in fractions of a second, explains Dekra’s accident research team. The pelvis can slip under the seat belt as it cannot provide optimal protection.
Only those who sit normally and upright will be fully protected by the airbags and seat belts. Passengers in the front seat are not fully protected when sitting in any other position, i.e. twisted, bent forward or with their feet up, the agency’s experts say.
The seat belt must pull tightly onto the body and the height of the headrest should be correctly adjusted for optimal protection against whiplash. The top edge of the headrest should be about the same height as the crown of the head. – dpa