We can all be a little better when it comes to car safety. The way drivers and passengers position themselves inside the vehicle is a significant determining factor in how severe their injuries will be in a crash. To help you stay safe and reduce the likelihood of injury, we’ve put together these 3 simple safety tips every driver should know.
Don’t Drive at “10 and 2”
Thinking back to drivers’ ed, you might remember the instructor telling you to put your hands at the “10 o’clock” and “2 o’clock” positions. This used to be the most common way to hold the wheel and was thought to give you the best hand-over-hand turning control. However, times have changed.
These days, safety experts say that holding the wheel at “10 and 2” significantly increases your risk of severe injury in a car crash. That’s because putting your arms in that position locks your elbows. If the airbag deploys, your arms will be forced out to the sides, significantly increasing the odds of a broken bone.
It’s recommended that you hold the middle of the steering wheel at the “9 and 3” position. Not only does this prevent you from locking your elbows, but if the airbag deploys your arms will be pinned to your sides instead of flying outward.
Changing how you hold the wheel seems like a small thing, but it could potentially save you months of wearing a cast if you’re ever in a serious crash.
Put Your Seatbelt on Properly
Ohio has some of the lowest rates of seatbelt adoption in the county. Nearly 10% of all commuters in Ohio do not wear their seatbelts, even when it would save their lives. In fact, the 10% of people who don’t wear their seatbelts make up about about 50% of people who die in car crashes.
Before setting off, make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing their seatbelts. While adults are not legally required to wear seatbelts while riding in the backseat, remember that simply putting on your seatbelt ensures that you stay inside the vehicle during a crash, and it significantly reduces the risk of injury and death.
Just as important as using the seatbelt is making sure you use it properly. Some passengers incorrectly place the lap belt on their belly rather than their hip. This isn’t just improper placement; it could be life-threatening.
Seatbelts make use of your breastbone and hips to absorb the force of impact, so your organs are left relatively unharmed. However, if the lap belt is on your belly and you are forced forward at high speeds, you could inadvertently cause organ damage, including bowel perforation and damage to your intestines.
If you need to adjust the seatbelt so it is against your hip, remember that it is better for the seatbelt to protect you than it is to use it improperly and cause a preventable injury.
Feet on the Floor
You should keep your feet on the floor while riding in any vehicle, especially while in the front passenger seat. There are several reasons for this. First is the airbags.
If you have your feet on the dashboard at the moment of a crash, the airbags can deploy with such force that they can dislocate your knee or (in extreme cases) dislocate the hip joint from the pelvis. Not only that, but if your feet are on the dashboard, your seatbelt is far less effective and is more likely to be the cause of injury.
You don’t necessarily need to have your knees on the dashboard to be in danger. Even crossing one leg over the other increases the risk of serious injury in a crash, not only from the phenomenon called “dashboard knee” but because the turned angle of your knees increases the risk of hip dislocation when the airbag deploys.
Remember, airbags are meant to keep you safe, but they require that you are being safe. As you sit in the passenger seat, ask yourself whether you’d be injured if the airbags were to deploy right now. If the answer is yes, you should readjust yourself.
When you adhere to all three of these safety tips, you can reduce your odds of a severe crash turning into a catastrophic one. Remember, crashes are almost always unexpected, and you won’t have the time or forethought to adjust yourself in an emergency. Though it may seem tedious to remember these tips, following them every day just might save your life.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car accident, we’re ready to be the experience on your side. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Dayton car accident attorney from The Attkisson Law Firm, please send us an email or call (937) 230-8330.