Why You Should Not Recline Your Seat in the Car
Why You Should Not Recline Your Seat in the Car

Do you recline your seat while riding in the car—perhaps while on long road trips or to catch a quick nap on the way home? Studies show you might want to rethink that decision. Reclining your seat can actually dramatically increase the risk of injury or death in the event of an auto accident.

What Makes Reclining Dangerous?

When your seat is reclined, your seat belt is far less effective than it would be in the upright position. Instead of securing your body with the seat belt’s three-point restraint, the shoulder harness is away from your body when you are reclined. In this position, your seat belt no longer works as intended. In the event of a crash, your body could slam against the seat belt or slide under it. Car accident victims whose seats were reclined during the crash have suffered severe injuries, including paralysis and leg amputations.

No Warnings About Reclining Risk

Automakers have known about this risk for more than 50 years, and federal transportation regulators have known about it for close to 30. In the 1980s, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study concluded that seat belts only work well when worn correctly. Among the ways vehicle occupants made their seat belts unsafe was reclining their seats.

Vehicle owner’s manuals usually contain some warning about the risks of reclining your seat. However, most drivers do not actually read the owner’s manual thoroughly. Despite the research, regulators have yet to mandate so much as a warning label about reclining seats. Unfortunately, the car manufacturing industry has substantial lobbying power, and has so far prevented any such regulations from seeing the light of day.

So what can you do? Commit to keeping your seat in the upright position any time you are in a vehicle. It might be more comfortable to nap on your road trip with the seat tilted back, but it is simply not worth the increased risk of severe injury or death in the event of an accident.

“We have labels on coffee cups warning of the burn risk, but there is no warning in vehicles about this potentially deadly risk. Please keep yourself and others who ride in your car by keeping your seats upright,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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