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The Dangers of Sitting Too Close to the Steering Wheel

deployed airbag

When it comes to driving safely, you probably don’t think about the position of your seat. It’s no secret that most automobile accidents and injuries result from dangerous driving habits like texting, speeding, and driving under the influence. However, the distance of the steering wheel can play an important role in driver safety. This is especially important when considering the strength and sensitivity of steering wheel airbags.

Can Sitting Too Close to the Steering Wheel Be Dangerous?

The short answer is yes. Drivers sitting too close to the steering wheel are at extreme risk for severe and detrimental injuries. This risk is even more prevalent for women; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that women are more than 47% more likely than men to be seriously injured in a collision due to their smaller bodies and preferred driving positions.

How Far Away Should You Be From The Steering Wheel?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that a distance of 10 or more inches from the steering wheel is safe. This is due to the power and impact that an airbag can produce. Research states that, on average, a steering wheel airbag generates a force of nearly 2,000 pounds and expands at roughly 200 miles per hour.

To help drivers maintain a safe distance between themselves and the steering wheel, we have compiled a list of helpful tips to get you driving comfortably and safely.

  • Push the seatback
  • Tilt the steering wheel down to avoid impact to the face or chest
  • Use a telescoping steering wheel to move it away from your chest (If possible)
  • Have pedal adjusters installed
  • Recline the top part of the seatback while maintaining the current distance
  • Use power-adjustable pedals (If possible)

How Far Should You Sit From the Steering Wheel if You are Short?

It sounds frustrating if you aren't very tall to sit very far back from the steering wheel. After all, if your legs cannot reach the pedals, you don't really have much of an option. But ten or more inches is still recommended for any height, and there may be a way you can accomplish this.

Many car companies have started designing power-adjustable pedals that can give drivers an extra three inches of pedal length. This means drivers with short legs or height can adjust the gas, brake, and clutch pedals without moving their seats closer to the front of the car.

Helping Clients Maintain a Safe Distance From Airbags

At Biren Law Group, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys genuinely care about your safety. We understand that driving is a natural and necessary part of nearly every person’s life. For this reason, we hope that you practice safe driving habits and conditions to prevent unnecessary harm.

If you have been severely injured by an airbag, call out Los Angeles car accident lawyers today. We may be able to help you recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. When building your case, we will be able to determine whether another driver caused your injuries or if the vehicle manufacturer should be held liable.

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