Best protection from airbags and seat belts needs correct seat position
Reclining and lounging puts lives at risk
Adjusting the driver’s seat is often a routine part of getting behind the wheel of a car. The driver’s feet need to be able to reach the pedals, and their hands the steering wheel. As a rule, this will mean that the seat is more or less in the right position for optimum protection from the seat belt and airbag during an accident. However, it is not just the correct positioning of the driver’s seat that is crucial when it comes to safety. Recent crash tests underscore that this is also true on the passenger side, explain the DEKRA crash experts.
- Crash consequences for front passengers depend on where they sit
- Submarining: risk of slipping under seat belt in emergency
- Experts warn never to put feet up on dashboard
The crash tests revealed considerable differences in the outcome of accidents, especially on the passenger side. “The combined seat belt and airbag restraint system only worked well for 50th Male when the seat was in a central position,” says Schäuble. “For 5th Female, the ideal seat position would have been higher and significantly further forward.” The elderly dummy’s lower center of gravity pushed it further into the surface of the seat, causing it to slip under the lap belt on impact.
So, what is the correct position for the front passenger seat? “The seat should only be moved far enough back to leave a distance of around three finger widths between the knees and the glove compartment,” says Schäuble. In many modern cars, the seat’s height can also be adjusted – another important factor. “Here, the advice is the same as for drivers, keeping eye level at about halfway up the windshield.” The seat should be as upright as possible so that the shoulders are in contact with the backrest. As for the headrest position, the DEKRA expert advises, “there should be as little space as possible between the headrest and the head. Ideally, the top of the headrest should be about level with the top of the head.”