Why you should never put your feet on the dash

By Berty Nghiem on 10 July 2017
Feet on dashboard dangers
  • Experts at the Road and Maritime Services have revealed the horrifying impact travelling with your feet on the dashboard can have in an accident
  • Possible injuries include a ruptured bowel, damage to the spinal cord and even death in extreme cases
  • In 2016 more than 400 passengers were admitted to hospital with injuries associated with putting their feet up on the dash

Passenger feet are seen on dashboards everyday but would that be the case if we understood the real dangers associated with ‘resting their legs’?

Engineers and data scientists at the Road and Maritime Services Crashlab have recently demonstrated this dangerous trend in car accidents at the purpose-built facility located at Huntingwood in Sydney’s western suburbs. 

The conducted crash simulation below shows a Holden Commodore impacting the wall at 70km/h which deploys the front passenger airbag, pushing the dummy’s feet back into her face.


On closer inspection of the above simulation you can see that it is actually the seat belt that causes bulk of the damage, having the feet up on the dashboard has caused the dummy to slip down underneath the belt which means the internal organs have borne the brunt of impact.

According to Dr John Crozier, possible injuries with such events include “things like a ruptured bowel, a torn aorta and the spinal column itself can be torn apart.” The trauma surgeon also added that “Injuries like that will paralyse [and] they may well kill.”

Putting your feet on the dashboard is dangerous and potentially fatal. Upon impact passenger frontal airbags are deployed from inside the dashboard and if your feet are up at the height of the dash your legs will be pushed upward rather than keeping your legs and lower body secured in a seated position.

Experts says that in this simulated crash had the dummy’s feet been resting on the ground she most likely would have walked away un-injured. But in 2016 alone, more than 400 passengers were admitted to hospital with injuries associated with putting their feet up on the dash. Statistics also show that female most at risk, particular on family road trips as men still do the majority of the driving. 

Crashes are sometimes unavoidable due to driver mistakes. Vehicle structure, seat belt systems and airbags are all designed to provide crash protection but will only serve their purposes as intended, if the person in the car is in an upright position.

Next time you see feet up on the dashboard remind your loved ones to put them back on the floor and always wear your seatbelt over your hips and across your collarbone to stay as safe as possible.

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