Don't sit in the back.
What used to be perceived as one of the safest places to sit in the car, has evolved to be almost the opposite.
The insurance institute for highway safety has virtually declared back seats a danger zone.
What's the problem?
While the front of your car is loaded with safety tech, the rear is more like riding in a 1980 school bus.
Rear seats have far fewer and dumber airbags than front seats and many cars.
Most notable, is the lack of a front airbag for a rear seat passenger, though they are in development.
And rear seat belts often lack force limiters.
These let a little bit of the belt play out, even while the belt is cinching up in a crash.
It's a delicate balance that keeps front seat passengers well restrain, but with less chest injury from the belt itself, but in the back, you typically just find belts that cinch hard.
The IHS studied 117 crashes and found that 45% of the rear seat fatalities were from chest impacts.
Those could also be addressed by wide adoption of inbuilt airbags as introduced by Ford in 2009.
Justice common were backseat fatalities due to head injury.
These are often impacts with the hard structure of the car in the back due to less presence of rear side curtain air bags.
Related to that is a recent $124 million judgement against Audi for front seats that collapse when the car is rear ended.
Potentially sending the front seat head first, backward, right into the face and chest of the rear seat passenger.
And that scenario is not unique to Audi.
By the way, kids in child seats in the rear seat are a different discussion.
Partly because they are in a special child seat, and partly because there's a different calculus of risk because you need to keep your child away from the powerful front airbag that is often too much of a good thing for their benefit.
Know your state laws on where your child needs to sit and how.
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