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With incorrect usage and poor habits, even the safest car in the world can't save you in the event of an accident. Here's what you shouldn't do in cars.
Category: Miscellaneous Advice
Safety is one of the most important considerations when buying a car. Nobody wants to drive a car that will easily cause you to lose your life in an accident. Hence, modern cars are often packed with safety features, assist systems and are engineered to ensure the safety of the occupants in the event of an accident.
However, even the safest car with a five-star safety rating won't be able to help much in the case of user error. Hence the onus is on you, as a passenger or a driver, to ensure your own safety when travelling in the car. And to achieve a safe drive, there are some things that you should never do.
Placing objects on your car's dashboard
Placing objects on your car's dashboard might seem harmless. It's somewhat like decorating your work desk, right? Not really, your work desk isn't situated within a moving lump of metal and you don't really need to see past your desk… If anything, having a bunch of junk sitting on it might help to hide the fact that you are actually watching a movie on your phone at work.
If you actually want to see out of your car's windscreen, you wouldn't want all sorts of reflections on it, so just keep the dash clear. Now, this might be a little controversial, but you really shouldn't place any hard objects on your dashboard - this includes religious statuettes, figures, or crystals. If you were to get into an accident, having a crystal lodged in your eye-socket sure wouldn't provide any 'healing energy' if you ask me. Needless to say, the same applies to stuff like model cars or vanity number plates - any hard object will have the propensity to turn into deadly projectiles in the event of an accident.
Propping your feet on the dashboard
Some people have the bad habit of treating the dashboard as an ottoman, propping their feet on it while you drive along. For such cases, I suggest giving the brake pedal a good, deep jab after ensuring it's safe to do so. I'm just joking, don't actually do that.
If it isn't already obvious, sitting in such a position will guarantee severe injuries in an accident. Your car's safety equipment will only work when properly used. Crash simulations have shown that in such a seating position, your body will slip down underneath the seatbelt in the event of a forward collision. This can result in possibly fatal injuries that include things like a ruptured bowel, torn aorta and severe damage to the spinal column.
Oh, did we mention what would happen if the dashboard's airbag were to activate? Well, let's just say you will now know how your feet smells like...
Not wearing your seat belts (properly)
Wearing your seat belt is something that's crucial to your safety. That's something you'll often hear about, but do you know why?
The use of seat belts keep you properly secured inside your car in the event of an accident - being ejected out of the car in an accident often results in death or serious injuries. This also applies to those seated at the rear. While the pair of seats in front might give you a false sense of security, you are likely to be gravely injured in a severe accident without a seatbelt on.
Equally important to wearing a seat belt is to do so properly. Improper use of a seat belt, such as putting the strap below your arms can also put you at risk of injuries. So, to stay safe, belt up properly!
Leaning against the door
Leaning against the door is a pretty comfortable position, especially as a rear passenger, and without the restraint of a seat belt. But doing so can be extremely dangerous.
Although most cars are designed for the doors to stay shut in the event of an accident to prevent the ejection of the occupants, it is still possible for the door to open.
By leaning against the door, you would increase the chances of being ejected out of the car should the door open (be it due to a faulty door latch, a door that hasn't been closed properly, or during an accident). Additionally, the chances of being severely injured in a side-impact accident would also be higher should you choose to lean against the door. Between comfort and safety, the latter is always the better choice.
Excessive speeding and dangerous driving
Did you know that crash tests, such as the driver-side small overlap frontal test by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), are conducted at speeds around 65km/h?
If you are travelling at a much higher speed, the resulting impact and damage from the accident will surely be much more severe. You could be driving the safest car ever with a five-star safety rating but an accident at speeds over 100km/h surely won't bode well. So don't start driving like a mad man just because of the excellent safety rating your car has.
On the other hand, while driver assists such as traction and stability control can help keep your car in control, if you are driving dangerously and aggressively, you could very well get in a situation where even high-tech systems wouldn't be able to save you.
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