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Putting Your Feet on the Dashboard Isn’t Just Gross, It’s Dangerous

There are a lot of bad habits that we see daily on the road and many of them are seriously unsafe. Recently, I wrote about a few of the faux pas drivers are guilty of. But passengers can have bad habits, too, and sitting near the top of the list is putting your feet on the dashboard. It’s gross for a number of reasons and it’s dangerous.

Police Constable Sean Shapiro of the Toronto Police Service, who is perhaps better known as the TikTok Cop online, says he sees passengers with their feet on the dash way more than he’d like to.

“Driving with your feet on the dashboard is not specifically illegal,” he says. “But it’s so incredibly stupid and dangerous that I’ve pulled over anyone doing it.”

Offenders didn’t get a ticket but instead received a lesson on why it should never be done. Shapiro said he once pulled over a mother and daughter because the younger occupant’s feet were on the dashboard despite her mom’s objections.

“The mother felt empowered when the big bad cop told her daughter that, ‘For real, it wasn’t safe,’” said Shapiro. “You’re going to drive your femurs out of your hips and into the back seat and you’ll never walk again.”

If you don’t immediately understand why putting your feet on the dashboard is inherently foolish, maybe a physics refresher is in order. Even at 50 km/h, a crash can have devastating consequences for a vehicle’s occupants, even when they’re buckled up and seated properly.

When a car is involved in a collision and comes to an instant stop, the occupants inside keep going – that’s  why we have seatbelts and airbags, but they can only do so much. Seatbelts, which are designed to tighten around your hips, are much less effective when your feet are on the dash, precisely above where most airbags explode out from.

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration writes on its website that an airbag inflates in less than 1/20th of a second–faster than the blink of an eye. They can reach speeds of over 300 km/h and can cause serious injury to children, or even adults that aren’t seated properly or are too close to the dashboard. That’s why most cars have passenger airbags that can be turned off (either automatically or manually), and it’s also why, in most cases, children should only ride in the back seat.

If that’s not enough, here’s a video that was filmed by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center that shows the devastating effect an airbag can have on a person if their legs are resting on the dashboard during a crash. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen to crash test dummies.

 

 

Audra Tatum from Walker County, Georgia, told CBS News in 2017 that she always put her feet on the dash to relax despite her husband’s warnings. She quickly changed her mind when their car was t-boned by another driver. Everyone in the car walked away with minor injuries except for Tatum. She broke her ankle, femur, and arm and was still facing physical challenges two years after the accident.

It’s easy to just brush this off with the thinking that it might never happen to you but is losing the ability to walk or worse really worth putting your feet up on the dash? There’s no good reason to do it. Not one. You’ll be much safer in the event of an accident and besides, no one wants to see your feet.