What is the safest place in the car?
The number of accidents on the roads has always been large, and now that there are more and more cars, the likelihood of getting into an accident is only increasing. Naturally, every passenger is interested in choosing the safest seat with the least risk of getting hurt.
Modern cars are equipped with a variety of safety systems to increase the chances of passengers and driver getting out of an accident with the least amount of damage. There are belts, airbags, head restraints and carefully calculated deformation of different elements in different situations. But accidents are very different, and not always these measures help, because it is impossible to foresee all situations.
However, you may take the most widespread types of accidents and see, on which places the passengers are injured the least. These are usually frontal and side collisions.
What can be considered the safest place in a car, and why?
In spite of numerous researches and multiple crash-tests, there is still no unequivocal answer to the question, which place in the car is the safest. Much depends on the specific situation.
High-ranking officials consider the safest place to be in the back, to the side of the driver, but there is still a risk of a side impact. Therefore, most researchers tend to believe that the middle rear seat is the best seat – provided, of course, that the seatbelt is fastened and there are head restraints. But here, too, there is no protection in the front that can save you from debris or massive structures flying through the windshield. This place is the safest, although also not ideal.
Much depends on the car model and year of manufacture. If in the modern models, some places are considered safe, in the old ones – others, if they are there at all.
Obligatory safety conditions
Modern cars have a whole set of measures to ensure the safety of the people inside in collisions and impacts of varying strengths. These are:
Are designed to hold a person in place. The tighter they press against the seat, the better. They prevent a lot of injuries that can be caused by hitting different parts of the passenger compartment. In addition, they provide free space for the airbag to open. were initially installed on the driver’s seat, now they are in the passenger and rear seats. Side airbags are also installed, as well as inflatable curtains, which seriously reduce the injury rate in side impacts. They act upon impact almost instantly, but only if the belts are fastened. Otherwise they can cause serious injuries themselves. That’s why the alarm warns when the belts are not fastened – because of this, the airbags won’t trigger either.
- Headrests. Their absence causes spine fracture at neck level, when your head falls back after hard blow. Modern head restraints due to the sensors can move forward and “catch” the head when it moves, reducing the risk of spinal injuries.
- The design of the frame and vehicle body is carefully calculated by the designers and modified according to the results of the crash tests. The frame must be able to withstand deformation, and the specially designed crumple zones must ensure the safety of the occupants. For example, the engine in frontal impact must go down, but not into the cabin – it is one of the arguments of the opponents of the crankcase protection installation.
These are all passive measures. Besides them, there are also active systems in the modern car – automatic cruise control, ABS, ESC, night vision system and many others. They constantly monitor the distance to neighboring cars, facilitate braking, reduce slippage, and do a lot of other useful things under the control of the computer. It would seem to be unrelated to safety, but it’s not. These systems make steering easier, warn of many dangerous situations, and help avoid them.
Based on all of this, we can say that the safest place in a passenger car should be equipped with everything – belts, airbags, being away from potentially dangerous places to hit.
Over the years there have been many studies on the safety of cars, because every year more than a million people are killed in them, and half a million are severely injured. Every manufacturer for every new model runs a computer simulation of different situations, and then there are dozens of crash tests, where the car is collided head-on with various obstacles, with other cars, with trucks.
They are also tested for side impacts – with different parts, at different angles, against different obstacles – the side impact against the pole is also included.
Dummies stuffed with a lot of sensors are used now as passengers. Moreover, not only the driver’s dummy is used, but the whole families – women and children’s dummies are also present.
All these tests are conducted to find the safest place in the car, as well as to find weaknesses in safety and to strengthen it.
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different seats a passenger can sit in. The driver has no choice, and his safety is the responsibility of the manufacturer. Immediately say that there is no consensus among experts, in different situations, different seats have different advantages. And different design features in all models are different.
The front seat next to the driver
Some consider this seat the safest, since it is equipped with a belt and cushions, and there is plenty of space for the passenger. In addition, there is a good seat with a headrest.
But there are other opinions that say that this is not the safest seat in the car for the passenger. It has the following disadvantages:
- There is no reduction in danger in a side impact, such as at an intersection;
- frontal crashes are the most common, and the front passenger is the most at risk;
- The driver, acting instinctively, may make his side out from under the collision and substitute the passenger’s one; – Weak protection from flying objects. There are a lot of cases, when even without collision the passenger was severely injured because of a brick, iron sheet or other object, fallen out of another car. Even a piece of ice falling off the roof of another car at high speed is a great danger.
Therefore, in spite of all measures, the front passenger in some situations can suffer a lot. Though there is an opinion to the contrary – that there are many airbags, and it is possible to place safely even a seat with a child. But airbags are not a panacea; you should not rely only on them. In side collisions at crossroads, the front part of the car suffers more often. According to the statistics, the death rate of front passengers in Russian accidents is 10 times higher than of the rear ones.
Behind the driver
The back seat is more protected from the front flying debris and different objects by the front seat. But there are no airbags in front, there are only side airbags. However, in frontal collision, the passenger has more chances to survive and get less serious injuries. The main danger is from side collisions, and the trunk protects from rear ones, and their force is usually not so great, if the collision is delivered right after.
Rear driver’s seat is the most dangerous among the rear ones. There is a big risk to get a hit here, when making left turn on the busy road, if the driver will estimate the speed of the stream incorrectly. In addition, many drivers adjust the position of their seat, moving it backwards, and there is less space for the passenger, and the risk of fractures is higher. That is why it is not the safest place in the car in case of an accident – it is the second most dangerous after the front one.
Behind the front passenger
Many believe it is the safest place in the car, including many officials, even high-ranking ones. It’s even called the “diplomat’s seat.” In fact, here too, there is a risk of getting hit from the side, but much less than from the left.
In other crashes, the chances of surviving or sustaining minimal injuries are quite high. So it’s not a bad seat, much better than the front or back of the driver.
Back in the middle.
By sitting in the back in the middle, the passenger has free space on both the right and left sides. Therefore, in the event of a side impact from either side, there is a good chance that the car body will extinguish it without harming the person. The rear is protected by the trunk.
The only vulnerable place is at the front, but the belts will save you. If they are not fastened, the frontal collision may cause the most disastrous results – there are many cases, when the passengers just flew out through the windshield.
But if all rules are observed, the passenger is buckled up and has a good headrest, this place is the best. Here, a person is as far away as possible from the epicenter of the impact from any side. When the car rotates, this place is almost in the center, so the centrifugal force here is also minimal.
The safest place in the car for a child seat according to statistics
Based on all of the above, we can conclude that the safest place in the car for a child is at the back in the middle. Yes, this is actually true. Of course, the seat must be age-appropriate, well secured, and the child must also be properly buckled.
The American magazine Pediatrics cited statistics showing that the risk of injury is 41% when placed in the back seat on the right, 31% on the left, and 28% in the center. The front seat is 60-80% more dangerous than the back seat. So the logical thinking is well supported by facts.
Let’s find out, which passenger seat in a passenger car is the safest after all
Statistically, a car is considered one of the most dangerous modes of transportation. Nevertheless, people are not ready to give up such a convenient way of travel as their own car. In order to minimize the risk of damage in the event of an accident, many passengers try to choose a certain seat in the cabin, and opinions vary widely on the safest one.
Up front next to the driver
Since the beginning of the automobile industry, it has been believed that the front seat passenger is the one who is most at risk:
- the front end of the car suffers most often in an accident (according to statistics, the death rate of front passengers is 10 times higher than that of those in the back);
- When a danger occurs, the driver intuitively tries to avoid a collision and turns the steering wheel sideways (the car turns around and the person on the front seat gets hit);
- When making a left turn, the oncoming car often rams the right side.
During the collision, the windshield falls directly on the driver and his neighbor. If the impact occurred at the rear, unbuckled people risk being easily ejected outward. Because of this, engineers have worked hard to protect the front seats. They are the ones equipped with many airbags, which almost completely protect people from the hard elements of the cabin.
Many people think that it is quite safe to ride in the front seat in modern cars. In reality, airbags can help far from always, and the probability of getting hurt in side impacts remains quite high.
Rear right seat
Another part of motorists believe that it is safest to sit in the right rear seat. Indeed, a person will not be able to fly out through the side window, and there is little chance of a side impact due to right-hand traffic.
Nevertheless, an oncoming car can crash into the right side when making a left-hand turn, threatening serious injury.
In the center of the back seat
Experts from around the world unanimously state that the middle back seat is the safest in case of an accident. This conclusion was reached for the following reasons:
- The passenger is protected by the trunk;
- the side impact will be damped by the car body, or will fall on the right and left seats;
- if the seat is equipped with its own seat belt and headrest, the passenger will be protected as much as possible from the force of inertia, which occurs during sudden braking;
- The effect of centrifugal force, which occurs when the car rotates, will also be minimized.
At the same time it is necessary to understand that an unbuckled person can easily fly out through the windshield. In addition, the middle rear seat has no protection from splinters and other elements which get into the passenger compartment during a collision.
Rear left seat
According to another popular opinion, the seat behind the driver is considered the safest:
- In a frontal impact, the passenger will be protected by the back of the driver’s seat;
- the instinctive behavior of drivers leads to the fact, that it is the right side, located on the other side of the car, which suffers in case of a threat of collision;
- The trunk protects against rear-end collisions.
In fact, the person sitting in the back on the left side is at risk of severe damage in case of a side impact. In addition, many drivers shift their seat back, so there is an increased chance of a fracture in an accident. This seat is considered the most dangerous of the rear seats.
It is quite difficult to assess the safety of passenger seats, because the severity of injuries strongly depends on the type of accident. For example, the front passengers are almost not afraid of side impacts, and frontal collisions can lead to death, while the opposite is true for the rear passengers.
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of experts consider that the safest place is the middle back seat. If the car has three rows of seats, it is better to choose a seat in the 2nd row in the middle. Statistically, the front passenger seat is the most dangerous. Next come the left, right and middle seats (in descending order of injury risk).