NC Chamber reported a 21% increase in fatal traffic accidents in North Carolina from 2019 to 2022. A total of 1,667 people lost their lives in 2022 in crashes.
While it is difficult to prevent all accidents, it can help to understand how where you sit in a vehicle can impact your chances of surviving a car wreck.
The backseat advantage
For years, experts have consistently advocated for the backseat as the safest place to sit in a vehicle, particularly for adult passengers due to various reasons.
In a collision, the forces exerted on the front seats are much greater than those in the rear. This is because the front of the car typically takes the brunt of the impact. By sitting in the back, you are further away from the point of initial collision, which can significantly reduce the forces acting on your body.
Front-seat passengers face potential risks associated with airbag deployment. While airbags save lives, they can be more forceful when they deploy, potentially causing injury. Authorities recommend the backseat for children in car seats and boosters because this positioning ensures protection from the airbags.
In a side-impact collision, the backseat provides more distance between passengers and the impact point on the vehicle’s side. This can reduce the risk of injury.
When the backseat is not an option
While the backseat is generally considered the safest, some vehicles, like pickup trucks and two-seater sports cars, lack rear seats. In such cases, sitting in the front is the only option. You should make sure to wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts are your first line of defense in a collision, and wearing them correctly is essential for your safety. Additionally, if your vehicle allows, you can deactivate the front passenger airbag when carrying a child or small adult. Follow your vehicle’s manual for guidance.
The backseat is generally the safest place to sit in a vehicle. If this is not an option, make safe decisions to use safety devices properly.