Road safety: The 5 most dangerous ways to sit in a car


Jade Poole

Road safety

Keep yourself safe by buckling up and securing the most protected positions!

As carmakers become increasingly safety-conscious in their design and safety features, we can see how people may think they’re protected enough in their vehicles. What we forget is this: even if a car has a super strong exterior, a mailable crunch zone and you’re always buckled up, there are still ways that you can sit in your car that will leave you vulnerable if an accident happens.

We want our Oneplan family to always stay safe on the roads (whether you have a policy with us or you’re just an interested reader, your safety matters to us). That’s why today we’re going to be discussing dangerous seating positions in your car and how you can avoid them.

Read more about how modern-day carmakers work to make your car safer.

The correct way to wear your seatbelt

When it comes to the way you sit in your car, a lot of it has to do with the position of your seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives. The correct way to wear your seatbelt is by fasting the straps over your lower hips and across your chest and collarbone. Pull the straps until they are firmly against your body but not too tight.

This may be uncomfortable for younger kids which is why they need to use booster seats if they have outgrown their car seats.

1.   Feet up on the dashboard

Most people are guilty of this. We always see it in the movies as the two main characters embark on a romantic long-distance road trip. The passenger has their feet up on the dashboard, tapping along to whichever coming-of-age soundtrack is blaring.

All very nice. Until there is a collision. Airbags blow up at an average speed of  320km/h. There’s a reason we advise to never put infants or developing children in the front seat or in a seat with airbags. They can cause serious damage. So now imagine your feet are up on the dash and they are met with an inflating device going at such a high speed - the outcome doesn’t sound very good.

Sitting with your feet up also changes the position of your seatbelt. You always want your seatbelt to be secure across your chest and low on your hips. Sitting with your feet up could cause you to slip over the belt in an accident, sending your body through the front of the car.

2.   Wearing your seatbelt under your arm

Again, this has to do with correct seatbelt positioning. The reason that your seatbelt is supposed to be crossed over your chest is that the collarbone is strong and is most likely to withstand the force of the seatbelt locking during a collision. If the seatbelt is under your arm, the seatbelt is sitting across your ribs which are far weaker.

If the seatbelt is under your arm and you have an accident, the top half of your body will probably be hurtled forward.

3.   Passenger seat reclined

It can be very tempting on a long trip to push your seat back and have a nice little snooze. This is going to cause your seatbelt to cover your abdomen and neck. This can be especially dangerous in an accident if the seatbelt tightens too tight across your neck. The way the seatbelt is positioned when the seat is reclined can also cause damage to the internal organs.

4.   Third-row seats

Some cars like combis will have three rows of seats. These seats are often a little less secure than the first two rows in the car. They have smaller leg space and are positioned very close to the rear of the vehicle.

If the car is hit from behind, this is the most vulnerable place to be sitting.

5.   Riding with anybody sitting on laps

Have you ever seen somebody driving by with their child in the front seat on your lap? Does it make your blood boil? Ours too.

Read more about our expert tips on keeping your baby safe in the car.

Overcrowding your vehicle is a traffic violation. Every passenger needs to have an allocated seat and a working seatbelt. Sitting with anybody on your lap, even if it isn’t in the front seat, is very dangerous.

It is especially dangerous to have infants or pets on your lap whilst you are in the front. Remember the airbag that inflates at 320km/h? That impact will put your baby or pet in direct line of the impact of the airbag, resulting in serious injury or in a lot of cases, death.

Whenever you step into your car, whether it’s a trip to the shops or an exciting holiday road trip, keep these safety tips in mind.

Yours in comprehensive car insurance,



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