How dangerous is it to rest your feet on the dashboard of a car?

I searched here and via Google. I got a Snopes discussion about whether an airbag deployment could kill someone with their feet up, but nothing conclusive.

Couldn’t sitting that way position a person to launch through the windshield? I see people sitting that way on the freeway and always shake my head…

Wish I could provide an answer backed by research and facts, but I can’t. In the case of a high-speed front end collision, I get a visual of the person’s tibia and fibula getting thrust right into their chest or face. That surely would not turn out well. Plus the person would not be properly restrained by the lap belt, because of being in a slouching position. That position forces the lap belt to be high up on their hips, instead of low on the hips, where it should be. This wouldn’t help their odds of survival, either.

I would think that, at a minimum, the airbags would break your legs, if not launching your knees into your face.

What we need is a doctor who has treated victims of such a wreck. Paging Dr. Qagdop!

While driving? :eek:

My WAG: Not dangerous at all unless the car is moving. Or if the owner of the car objects. Stuff like that.

My wife does this often as a passenger. It drives me crazy to the point that I have to threaten to pull over if she doesn’t take them down. I think you’d be safer going without a seatbelt.

Since many cars have airbags in the dash, I’d think that if the airbag deploys, anyone with their feet up on the dash would likely find their ankle bones swiftly relocated to the vicinity of their larynx - with pretty unfortunate results.

Airbag deployment is an extremely violent event. YouTube is replete with videos featuring people who attempt all manner of stunts with them. Here’s one. If it can launch a man like that, it’ll certainly punch your legs back toward your face in a big hurry. In the best case, your knees would clear your face and just come back to your shoulders. More likely is that your knees will hit your face, or that the load from the deploying airbag will be unevenly applied to your legs and break your tib/fibs, and/or will cause your legs to fly away from the dashboard at angles that result in severe knee/hip injuries.

Even in the absence of an airbag, a crash would be bad news. The seat belt keeps your head and torso from striking the dashboard, but they will at least partially close the gap. You may strike your head on your knees, or your feet may slip off the dashboard high, and strike the windshield, or your feet, or they may slip off low and you’ll strike your shins on the dashboard, breaking tib/fibs.

And then of course there’s the matter of the lap belt riding high because your pelvis has to tilt to allow your thighs up.

All in all, yes, it’s likely to create substantially more severe injuries in a crash, with or without an airbag.

Edit: here’s an even more energetic airbag deployment.

This is all informative; thank you.

I guess I am surprised that there isn’t, I don’t know, “official” data on this - some National Collision test with this variable tested. I see it often enough on the freeway; if it is as dangerous as it appears, it would likely be a contributing factor to a reasonable % of freeway deaths…

A few months ago on The Price is Right, there was a contestant who had two broken ankles because she had her feet up on the dashboard. I have no specifics on how fast the car was going, whether the airbag was activated, etc.

This guy severed a foot when he was a passenger in an accident that deployed the airbag; the foot was later reattached.