July 17, 2019

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Driving While Sitting Too Close to the Steering Wheel

Do you adjust the position of the car seat when you hop into the car before driving away? Not many people do and chances are that you’re one of them. Many people assume that the seat is in the same position as they left it when they last took their car for a spin. Many others simply don’t think about it.

However, the position of your car seat plays an important role not only in your comfort while driving but also in your safety.

Car seat placement and safety

The position of your car sat determines your placement in the vehicle. This can have a great impact on your safety. It determines just how you will be affected during a collision.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) advise drivers to leave at least 10 inches of space between themselves and the steering wheel. This is believed to be a safe enough distance for the driver even when an accident occurs and the airbags are deployed.

Studies show that airbags can open very rapidly (some at more than 200 miles an hour). They do so with a force of approximately 2,000 pounds. The impact of this force is lessened with distance. If you’re sitting too close to the steering wheel, you will feel the full impact of the force that an airbag produces. Drivers can suffer serious injuries including injuries to eyes and broken facial bones. In some cases, an airbag injury can be fatal.

Tips for ensuring your safety

If you want to enhance your safety while driving, you can start with the following tips:

  • Move your seat back when you get into the driver’s seat. Ensure that you are able to comfortably place your hands on the steering wheel. You should also be able to comfortably reach the pedals with your feet.
  • If you are short and find that you can only comfortably drive the car while the seat is close to the steering wheel, consider installing pedal adjusters. These will allow you to move your seat back and drive with a safe distance between you and the steering wheel.
  • Ensure that the steering wheel is tilted downward. This will help to you avoid ramming directly into to steering wheel with your chest or face in the event of a collision.
  • Recline the upper part of the driver’s seat slightly. This further increases the distance between your chest and the steering wheel.
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