Adult passenger safety

NannyMom

New member
SIL and I got into a discussion on driver safety after a crash her sister had. I'm looking for info beyond "read your manual" (especially since mine is missing). How should the headrest be positioned, and how far should it be from the head?

I figured as long as someone has it as high as the tops of thier ears, it's good. SIL also thinks ypur head should be within 1 inch of the headrest, or touching it. I naturally sit with my head a few (2?) inches away, even if the seat is moved more upright.

Are there any kind of guidelines here?
 
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LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
Interesting. I had never thought about the distance between my head and the headrest before. I CANNOT have my head touching the headrest. Too constraining. I have no idea how far it is, though. (I do keep the seats very upright, so I'm guessing not far, but I'll have to check that today.)

On another note: Make sure you sit at least 10" from the airbag. Hold a piece of paper lengthwise between yourself and the steering wheel/dashboard to gauge the distance.
 

Pixels

New member
Ideally, the top of the head restraint will be at least as high as the top of the head. That was really reinforced for me when I watched the TC videos and saw how the body moves up as it rebounds. When the seat came to the top of the head pre-crash, the top was about even with the top of the ears upon impact during rebound. When the seat came to the top of the ears pre-crash, the neck is what was even during rebound.

My vehicle owner's manual has instructions for ideal adjustment of the steering wheel angle, since that affects the airbag deployment. If the steering wheel is aimed at your belly button, so is the airbag, leaving your head unprotected.

I can't get 10 inches between my body and the airbag in any vehicle, unless I'm sitting in the passenger's seat. I'm not that short, I'm at the bottom end of "average" at 5'4". At least putting the steering wheel at the proper setting for airbag deployment (ironically at the top of the range) buys a bit of space as well.
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
My vehicle has active head restraints and they naturally curve in towards your head. For the front seat head restraints they say "the center of the back of your head rests against the center of the restraint". Impossible for me as I have the head restraint all the way at the bottom and the top of my head isn't even over the top of the headrest.
 

APmama2MAK

New member
Interesting. I had never thought about the distance between my head and the headrest before. I CANNOT have my head touching the headrest. Too constraining. I have no idea how far it is, though. (I do keep the seats very upright, so I'm guessing not far, but I'll have to check that today.)

On another note: Make sure you sit at least 10" from the airbag. Hold a piece of paper lengthwise between yourself and the steering wheel/dashboard to gauge the distance.
not to hijack, but would being WAY too close to the air bag (like almost touching the steering wheel) be a legitimate reason to have a drivers air bag disabled? I currently drive a truck without airbags but looking to get a new car (08-09) next year and I have been worried about this. I am 4'8".
 

Pixels

New member
not to hijack, but would being WAY too close to the air bag (like almost touching the steering wheel) be a legitimate reason to have a drivers air bag disabled? I currently drive a truck without airbags but looking to get a new car (08-09) next year and I have been worried about this. I am 4'8".
NHTSA does say that would be a legitimate reason to have the airbag disabled, yet they rarely will actually grant a waiver. Even if you did get a waiver, then you would have to find a shop to disable it, and they are hard to find.

Perhaps pedal extenders like they make for Little People would help. How does the seatbelt fit you? You may be able to benefit from a backless booster as well, both in fitting the belt and being able to see better. My SIL is short (4'10"ish, I think) and she has had several wrecks, partly due to being short and not being able to see as much.
 

APmama2MAK

New member
I can see REALLY well in the cars Ive tried but I do sit on a bolster thing. I have considered a booster lol. Belt fit is good hip wise in most things, okay to horrific with the shoulder. I would never drive a car I cant see safely in though lol.

I hear that about it being hard to find someone to disable the airbags, even if you get a waiver. My sons father is a mechanic and they do it for ppl without waivers but I told him Im not sure Id trust a mechanic to do ANYTHING to my car if they are that careless with disabling air bags.
 

Jeanum

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Staff member
The petition process through NHTSA for disabling a front airbag is not for the driver's airbag but for the passenger side only as I understand it. Even then it's nearly impossible to find a dealership or auto repair/service shop willing to actually do the disabling of the passenger side airbag if the petition is approved by NHTSA due to the liability factor.
 

Jeanum

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Staff member
Thanks for the link, good to know it's theoretically possible to apply to disable a driver's side airbag even if the liability issues do make it dicey and nearly moot in terms of finding a shop to do the actual disabling work. There's always that chance that another driver would get behind the wheel who could benefit from an active airbag, for example, and the same is possible for a front passenger side occupant, too. Then we've got our "sue happy" society layered over the whole scenario. :eek:
 

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