It's summer, so road-trip season is in full swing. If you like your legs, read this before you kick back and relax while your spouse or partner is driving — the Chattanooga Fire Department is trying to get the word out that resting your feet on a vehicle's dashboard could leave you paralyzed or dead in the event of an accident.
The fire department posted a cautionary tale on its Facebook page about a woman injured during such an accident. "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," the post warned.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees. Although front airbags have saved many lives since they became mandated for model-year 1998, they can also be dangerous, the agency cautions.
"Because airbags deploy very rapidly, serious or sometimes fatal injuries can occur if the occupant is too close to — or is in direct contact with — the airbag when it first begins to deploy," NHTSA says.
Since airbags inflate in less than 1/20 of a second, according to NHTSA, the front passenger won't have time to move his or her knees from the dashboard before impact and inflation.
Passenger Audra Tatum is painfully aware of this. The Georgia woman told CBS News that an accident two years ago sent her foot into her face. She was resting her legs on the dash when the crash occurred, and the impact of the airbag broke an arm and leg in several places.
So go ahead and relax on that road trip — but save the kicking back for the beach.