When you’re riding shotgun, it’s likely that you hop into the seat, kick off your shoes, and pop your feet up on the dashboard. Hey, that extra leg room is part of why people scramble to claim the front seat, right? But that habit of kicking up your heels and stretching out might be something to reconsider.
No one wants to get into a car accident, for many obvious reasons, but there is one position you ESPECIALLY don’t want to be caught in during impact: with your feet up on the dashboard.
Literally just thinking about that makes us queasy.
One terrible example of this situation is Audra Tatum, a woman who loved putting her feet up on the dash when your husband was driving. Her husband would tell her time and time again that she shouldn’t assume this position in the passenger’s seat, for her safety in case of an accident.
Tatum told CBS News that she would always respond to her husband’s concern with the assurance that she would have time to put her feet down if they ever got in a crash. Sadly, she had to learn the reality of this lesson the hard way.
On August 2, 2015, Tatum’s theory would prove painfully wrong when the couple, who were traveling to Tatum’s parents’ home, were T-boned by another vehicle.
“The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose,” Tatum said. “I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me. Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance. I’m not Superman. I couldn’t put my foot down in time.”
Besides her nose, Tatum also broke her ankle, femur, and arm in the crash. Unfortunately, she simply didn’t stand a chance trying to beat out the speed of your average airbag.
As the Chattanooga Fire Department explained in a Facebook post, airbags deploy at between 100 and 220 miles per hour and would likely “send your knees through your eye sockets.” Although this may not have been the case of Tatum, she still suffers from the injuries she incurred two years later.
She can no longer work in emergency medical services as she can no longer lift patients and cannot stand for more than four hours at a time.
“I keep telling everybody, you don’t want this life,” she said. “You don’t want the pain and agony every day.”
Passengers, be warned. The next time you call shotgun, be careful to keep your feet firmly on the ground, or else face potentially devasting consequences.