Staying Safe Whilst Seated

Staying Safe Whilst Seated Image

April 02, 2024

Maintaining a proper position in the vehicle is not only important for our comfort, but also crucial for our safety, and leaves you exposed to a fine if you don’t.

When used correctly, the vehicle´s seats and features offer the maximum protection in the event of a collision. If we do anything to change the characteristics of these features, we risk our safety tremendously.

Arms and legs should be kept inside the protective shell of the vehicle. Sticking your head, arms or legs out of the window is not a very good idea.

There are countless documented cases of motorists suffering serious injury when “clipped” by a passing car, as well as the more gruesome stories of the loss of limbs in the event of a crash. Having an arm out of the window also poses a risk to other road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists. Being able to put your head out of the window implies that the seatbelt is not worn correctly. If your body parts are not within the safety cage of the vehicle, then you are at risk and are risking others.

Arms extended from the vehicle may also confuse other road users who might think that you are giving hand signals, thus posing a further risk that those drivers may incorrectly react to what they think you are gesturing. Visibility may also be obscured as a result, blocking the vehicle´s mirrors and making it difficult to observe the vehicle surroundings correctly.

You may remember when learning to drive your instructor advising you to grip the steering wheel with two hands, and in the “ten-to-two” or “quarter-to-three” position, the latter now being favourable as the driver´s arms will also be pushed away from the steering wheel during an airbag deployment.

Article 18, Section 1 of Royal Decree 1428/2003 of 21 November, approving the Rules of the road, states that “The driver of a vehicle must maintain their own freedom of movement, the required field of vision and permanent attention to driving, to ensure their own safety, that of other vehicle occupants and other road users. To achieve this, you must take special care to maintain the proper position and that of the passengers, and the proper placement of objects or animals transported so that there can be no interference between the driver and any of them“.

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