The One Reason Why You Should Keep Your Feet Off the Dashboard

never understood why passengers in a car would want to remove their shoes and rest their feet on the dashboard. Maybe it is an opportunity to air out their feet. Perhaps it is comfortable for them. I do not know; but if I were to try it, I would surely be uncomfortable — probably as uncomfortable as I would be putting my feet up on the wall of a bulkhead while I am a passenger aboard an airplane, which I do not do…

…but the likelihood of an airplane encountering a collision during a flight — or crashing at all, for that matter — is apparently 0.00001 percent, according to this article written by Ross Bonander of AskMen.

Your chances of being involved in an automobile accident are significantly higher, however — especially if you are a passenger in a moving vehicle where the driver is texting — and though the potentially unsightliness of the sight of bare feet may be enough of a reason not to put feet on the dashboard inside of a car, perhaps the increased risk of danger might be more convincing as the one reason why you should keep your feet off the dashboard of the car. In the event of a sudden collision, there is no time to react; and airbags can deploy in a fraction of a second with a force so powerful that it can cause substantial — and possibly permanently irreparable — bodily damage.

Consider the story of Bethany Benson, who was involved in a serious accident on Highway 402 near Strathroy, a small rural town located approximately 40 kilometers west of the city of London in the province of Ontario. She had her feet up on the dashboard of the 2002 Pontiac Sunfire owned by her mother but driven by her boyfriend at the time.

“A deployed airbag inflates at about 320 km/h”, according to this article written by Lorraine Sommerfeld for Driving. “That’s a little faster than most Formula One cars race. This is what hit Bethany’s hamstrings, driving her knees into her face. Her left eye socket and cheekbone were broken, as was her nose. Her jaw was dislocated, a tooth cut through her lower lip and she would lose her spleen. Both feet were broken and compressed, and would eventually end up nearly 2 sizes smaller than they were before the crash. Her left pupil would remain permanently dilated affecting her vision, her hearing would remain altered and her memory would be wiped and rebooted like a faulty computer program. But perhaps the most dangerous injury would be the one her mother was told at the time not to worry about: a brain bleed.”

Greater than five years later at 26 years of age, Bethany apparently has the mental capacity of a girl who is 13 years old: “…everything she had, everything she was, changed because she put her feet up on that dash.”

For many people, driving a car can be part of the overall travel experience as a natural extension to traveling by airplane — especially to those with families, such as Dan Miller of Points With a Crew, who explains in this article why his family is a two-rental-car family when they travel. It is especially important to ensure that you are as safe as possible when traveling by car — especially as the odds of becoming injured or killed as the result of an accident are much higher than other modes of transportation; and those injuries or deaths are often easily preventable.

The simplest and safest solution in this particular case: keep your feet on the floor and never place them up on the dashboard.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

7 thoughts on “The One Reason Why You Should Keep Your Feet Off the Dashboard”

  1. Brandon says:

    I thought this was reason enough, minor collision that deployed the airbag resulted in passenger who was resting her feet on the dashboard having the front of her foot amputated when the airbag sent it through the glass: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-trauma-surgeon-get-your-foot-off-of-my-dash/

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for the link to that article, Brandon; but I feel that it is necessary to warn readers of The Gate that the graphic photographs in that article are not for anyone who is squeamish.

  2. Danny says:

    Please warn your readers not to place their feet on the bulkhead. That is just bad manners. The plane isn’t your own house or car.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I cannot say that I should warn them, Danny, as there is no danger inherent to them; but I completely agree with you that feet do not belong on the bulkhead wall.

  3. Ryan says:

    Sad story but a good reminder not to do this. I shared with my teenager who is wont to prop her feet up on the dash and thinks I’m being stupid for making her take them down. Hopefully it starts to sink in.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I hope that she listens to you for her sake, Ryan.

      Better yet, I sincerely hope that the two of you never get involved in a serious car accident for her to find out the hard way…

  4. thehawk75 says:

    Unfortunate that the government has mandated that these explosive devices be placed in all vehicles, regardless of their very dubious track record with regards to safety.

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