The Alarming Reason Why You Should Never Put Your Feet on the Dashboard of a Car

August 3, 2019 Updated: August 11, 2019

It screams “carefree,” it feels amazing on bare feet, and it’s up there with the most popular poses for Instagram photos. What’s so wrong with putting your feet up on the car dashboard?

Well, as it turns out, this position could be deadly and the Chattanooga Fire Department wants to tell you all about it. Take heed; if you’re someone who loves to put their feet up, then you need to read this.

Illustration – Unsplash | Paula May

A Facebook post from the kind folk at the Chattanooga Fire Department went viral in 2017. They shared a picture showing a pair of teens riding in a car, and the female passenger had her feet up on the dashboard. The accompanying explanation hammered home exactly why this riding position is so dangerous.

The fire department’s Bruce Garner credited an activist by the name of Colin Bennett from the United Kingdom for the original post.

Something You Need to KnowWhile traveling this weekend, I noticed many passengers had their feet on the dashboard of…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Chattanooga Fire Department‎‏ في الخميس، ٣ أغسطس ٢٠١٧

“Something you need to know,” the post began. “While traveling this weekend, I noticed many passengers had their feet on the dashboard of their car. Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 miles per hour,” Garner clarified. “If you ride with your feet on the dash and you’re involved in an accident, the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets.”

Wait, what? Let’s read that again; the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets. Now that is nothing short of terrifying.

Illustration – Unsplash | Victoria Bilsborough

“And yes,” the post added, as if the previous statement wasn’t arresting enough, “the driver and passenger should also be wearing seat belts!”

This casual-seeming, carefree posture could not only endanger your own safety but could also massively impact the lives of the people you love. Sadly, this safety warning is one that a certain Georgia woman is all too familiar with.

According to WTVC in Chattanooga, Audra Tatum was riding in a car with her husband when she found out firsthand what really happens when you ride with your feet on the dashboard.

She nestled into the comfortable position, as thousands of car passengers across the nation do every single day. But here’s a little-known fact; airbags are designed to work effectively when, and only when, people’s feet are planted firmly on the floorboard of the vehicle.

©Facebook Screenshot | Chattanooga Fire Department

“We were heading to my parents to pick up our two sons,” Tatum shared with WTVC. “A car came up to a stop sign, we were coming down the road, and he pulled out in front of us,” she recalled.

“We T-boned him.”

©Facebook Screenshot | Chattanooga Fire Department

To add insult to injury, Tatum wasn’t wearing a seat belt. As a result of this, plus her dangerous, casual sitting position, the impact shattered her nose, ankle, femur, and shoulder. The accident impacted her mobility for the next two years of her life.

“Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance,” Tatum admitted to CBS. “The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose. I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me.”

©Facebook Screenshot | Chattanooga Fire Department

“I’m not Superman,” she shared, in despair. “I couldn’t put my foot down in time!”

Tatum’s distressing experience now serves as a warning to others. After her ordeal, the now-vigilant passenger is eager for her experience to mean something. “Do not sit like that,” she said, pleading with others not to make the same mistake she did.

This is why you shouldn't put your feet on the dashboard

"Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 MPH. If you ride with your feet on the dash and you're involved in an accident, the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets." This mom is using her horrific story to warn passengers about the danger of resting your feet on the dash:

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎CBS News‎‏ في الأربعاء، ٩ أغسطس ٢٠١٧

“If you sit like that, you’re asking for it.”

Feet on the dashboard may still emulate lazy days and the laid-back road trips of summertime, but knees through your eye sockets? It’s simply not worth the risk.