If your family was like mine growing up, the parents had recliners in the loungeroom, allowing them to put their feet up in comfort and style, while we kids were left to sit with our feet down on the floor like peasants.

    • Putting your feet on the dashboard as a passenger is legal
    • However, if you’re in an accident, you could be critically injured or killed
    • It might be comfortable, but it’s dumb!

    Putting your feet up is a relaxing thing to do. It’s literally a synonym for relaxing.

    But one thing you should never do – even though it is legal to – is put your feet on the dashboard of a moving car as a passenger. Nor as a driver!

    The laws around how you sit in a car only really pertain to the fact that you don’t have your body parts hanging from the vehicle, and that you are safely secured with a seatbelt.

    But there are no posture police regarding how you sit, slouch or relax in a car, and road-trip season seemingly encourages passengers to want to sit with their toes stretched out as sunshine streams through the windscreen. Or maybe it’s just a good way to keep your soles cool by putting them in front of the air vents. 

    However, if you were to be in an accident while your feet were placed on the plastic dashboard, you could be seriously injured or killed.

    Check out this horrific X-ray image for an indication of just how bad things can go!

    That’s whether the car has an airbag or not. Airbags deploy with tremendous force (and at speeds in excess of 300km/h!), and could easily force your legs back at a rate that could dislocate or break bones, not to mention the impact trauma that could result from your bent legs hitting your upper body and head.

    Airbags are designed to work to protect your head if you are in a crash – that’s why they’re called frontal head airbags if they deploy from the dashboard! Some cars have driver’s knee and even passenger’s knee airbag protection too, and those inflate from the bottom section of the dash, where your knees should be.

    WA Police posted on Facebook: “Although passengers putting their feet on your dashboard isn’t illegal, it is disrespectful and very dangerous. If you are involved in a crash or if the airbags deploy, your passenger could be seriously injured or killed by the secondary impact. Next time you see your passenger putting their feet up on your dashboard, tell them ‘get your feet off my dash’, it could save their life.”

    As a driver, you should consider yourself responsible for the safety of your passengers, and there have been reported instances where a vehicle has been pulled over by police because a passenger was sitting with their feet on the dash. No fine or demerit points were issued, but it’s said that the officer warned the passenger and driver of the dangers of having their feet up while the car is moving.

    It isn’t specifically illegal to recline your seat while driving, either. So, if you’re driving and your passenger wants to lay back, they can, but just ensure they don’t put their feet up like at mum and dad’s place.

    Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or 

    Territory.

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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