Learn about the dangers of sitting too close to the steering wheel

Steering Wheel Injuries and How to Prevent Them

When you get behind the wheel of a new car and prepare to drive, you probably make all kinds of adjustments—you pull your seat forward or back, you check your side mirrors, and you adjust your rearview mirror. But have you ever thought to adjust your steering wheel? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, adjusting your steering wheel could save your life.

Types of Steering Wheel Injuries

Sitting too close to the steering wheel can cause serious internal injuries as well as broken bones and lacerations. If the impact of an accident causes the driver to get thrown forward against the steering wheel, the steering column will not give at all. Instead, it will cause serious injuries like bruising, broken ribs, or internal injuries.

However, a bigger issue is how sitting too close to the steering wheel affects a driver in case of airbag deployment. In order to inflate in time to prevent injuries, airbags have to expand at about 200 miles per hour. This creates 2,000 pounds of force. If a driver is seated closer to the steering wheel than the auto manufacturer intended, the airbag won’t be fully inflated by the time it hits them. Instead, it will still be in the process of deploying. This means it will hit the driver with tremendous force, potentially causing lacerations if glasses or facial jewelry get smashed into the driver’s face. In some cases, the impact of an airbag can worsen head or back injuries.

How to Adjust Your Steering Wheel

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel in order to prevent airbag injuries. Follow these tips to make sure your steering wheel is properly positioned:

  • Push your seat back as far as you can while still reaching the pedals
  • If you are still too close to the steering wheel:
    • Push it back using the telescoping feature;
    • Recline your seat back to keep your head further from the steering wheel; and/or
    • Check if your vehicle has pedal adjusters that will allow you to move your seat further back
  • Do not tilt the steering wheel up towards your face

You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Airbag Injuries and Other Car Accident Injuries

If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. This includes injuries caused by an airbag. If the airbag failed to deploy properly, you may have a case against the auto manufacturer as well as against the party who caused your accident, since both contributed to your injuries. To learn more about your rights and options, please contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker today at 800-333-0000. The initial consultation is always free.