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Most dangerous seat in a car?

Most dangerous seat in a car?

(OP)
What is the most dangerous seat in car when a car crashes that has a passenger and driver? I was first wondering about seat position because depending on where you are sitting your seatbelt is either going over your left shoulder (driver) or right shoulder (passenger) and it would change which organs would be compressed by the seatbelt in a crash.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

I would think that is highly dependent on the type of crash.
Perfectly head on, likely to be negligible difference. Although, I'm no crash engineer. wink


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

I'm not sure, but in general the driver has a lot of things around him that are bad news in a crash - he is nearer the airbag, he has the steering column to contend with, and the pedal box is trying to break his legs.

You could have a look at stats on the NHTSA or IIHS website.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

It used to be, when I was in Driver's Ed, that the passenger seat was referred to as the "Death Seat" Some of the reasons are OBE, like the possibility that with both people not seat belted, the passenger is more unrestrained than the driver, and likely to fly through the windshield, who has to make it past the steering wheel to fly out of the car.

Other reasons may still be valid. I suspect that the passenger seat is still the most likely to be fatal. The driver's field of vision is better on his side, so he's more likely to see impending collisions and attempt to avoid them, whereas, the passenger side has less visibility, further compounded by the passenger, who often, like my wife, is doing something to block my side view mirror during critical maneuvers. The driver is required to be more or less in the proper position to be protected by the physical structure of the passenger compartment as intended by the designers. The passenger, on the other hand, does not have to operate the vehicle, and is more likely to be doing something bad, like having their legs dangling out the window, or propped up on the dashboard. From what I've seen of the IIS crash tests, there is some risk of lower extremity injury with the driver, but the driver usually survives, since that's what the passenger compartment structural design intends.

TTFN
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RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Good points. There may be an a bias in results if the NCAP etc scores are biased towards the driver (which would make sense).

That is, although in secondary crash the driver is most vulnerable, it would make sense to bias protection towards the always occupied driver seat, rather than the 50% occupancy front passenger seat.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

(OP)
Interesting points, thanks for answering. What does OBE mean? Another thing I was looking up after I thought of this question is "what is the most common fatal car accident?" which according to this seems to be single vehicle/single driver accidents due to "Traffic Controls" that I don't quite understand the definition of. Thanks again for the comments.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Overcome By Events, namely, mandatory seat belt laws.

Traffic controls, as described in the second page of the article are primarily signage, or the ignoring thereof, i.e., running traffic lights or stop signs. There's a new PSA about texting while driving, showing someone responding to a text and running a stop sign and getting smashed by a truck.

TTFN
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RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Here's some more research for you to do. Are the targets for occupant injury in the crash tests different for different seat positions? I'm pretty sure driver and front passenger have the same targets, for Euro NCAP at least.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Proliferation of airbags has made driver and passenger much safer then before. Now, if one doesn't survive, it's more likely because of asymmetric damage to the vehicle, not asymmetry of internal hazards or asymmetry of internal protection.

... except in the case of multiple impact events, as in one I witnessed on an icy Long Island Expressway, where the same car impacted the left guardrail, head-on, hard, eight times. It was before airbags, so the driver probably died in the first impact. With airbags, he might have lived to see the second impact. I drove on past the wreckage; no sense in stopping.

<tangent>
Before the rear seats had shoulder belts in addition to lap belts, rear seat passengers had a good chance of survival, but also a 'good' chance of surviving as a paraplegic, because of spinal cord injuries from being stretched by the lap belt.

Now that particular bad outcome is less likely, except in the case of one particular set of my grandchildren, who have been told by their mother that the shoulder belt will decapitate them in a crash, so they wear it wrong intentionally. The mother is an entrepeneur and a lawyer, and rather fun to watch, when she's chewing on someone _else's_ leg. No way am I walking into that buzzsaw.

</tangent>

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

"chewing on someone _else's_ leg. " lol

How does the same car impact the same guardrail 8 times head on? And hard too? Was it shot by aliens? wink


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

The car passed me going _way_ too fast for dry conditions, i.e. about the normal median speed on the LIE.

Conditions were not dry; there was an inch of snow on the ground, tire-compressed snow on the road, a layer of ice on top of that, and freezing rain to top it off. i.e., a normal miserable Long Island winter day.

The guy just sort of lost it, overcorrected a couple times, and the ever increasing yaw became a horizontal spin.
... which might have been survivable on a straight and level road.
... which the LIE is not.

This all happened at the entry to a downhill, off-camber bend to the right, so the guy slid straight into the guardrail at considerable velocity toward the guardrail and more considerable velocity along the guardrail. It may have been a Thrie rail, or it may have been a double Armco rail. No matter; the rail deflected in, a little, then launched the car back uphill, toward the inside of the curve, where the snow was not deep enough to stop it, but the offcamber gradient was, and the car slid back to impact the left barrier again, having pirouetted through almost exactly 360 degrees since the first impact.
... and the sequence repeated until the guardrail, still basically uninjured, had transferred all of the car's original kinetic energy into deformation of the front of the car.

It looked fine from the B-pillar back, still facing the guardrail as my car, now considerably slowed from its original crawl, slowly crept by.



Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Wow. That sounds dramatic. Poor guy, hope he made it. Wonder if modern ASM would have saved him from losing control.


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

I have never lost control of a car or bike. I have given it away a few times.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Difficult question to answer. Statistically, most accidents involve single drivers and no passengers. So due to sheer numbers, the driver's seat is more dangerous.

Collisions at an intersection where a driver runs a red light are usually the most damaging. In the US, where the driver is on the left side of the vehicle and we drive on the right side of the road, a driver usually has less time/distance to react to a collision coming from the left than they do from a collision coming from the right.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

This question:"What is the most dangerous seat in car when a car crashes that has a passenger and driver?" seems to solicit comparisons of the spaces rather than occupant behavior or crash asymmetries. In that case I think the previously offered consideration of the pedal box and steering wheel favors the passenger seat with the caveat that both occupants are belted.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

OK, if that is the basic question, and we assume that the driver and passenger both have similar physical characteristics (gender, age, height, weight, etc), and that both are sitting in the front seats and are belted, there are still other factors that must be considered. For example, what type of impact is involved? Is it a head-on impact with a similar vehicle traveling on the opposite side of the roadway? Is it a side impact with a vehicle crossing an intersection? Or is it a single vehicle accident where the car rolls over, or impacts a stationary roadside object like a tree or utility pole?

I would propose that with modern vehicles having ABS, front and side airbags, forward crumple structures, etc, the driver would likely suffer less injury than the passenger. This is because the driver will usually see the impact coming sooner than the passenger, and will be able to brace himself better before the impact occurs.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

This reverts to crash variability and occupant behavior again. The questions that this answers are "...what kind of accident is more dangerous to the driver vs the passenger and vise-verse?..." and "...which occupant's behavior is more likely to protect him?...". While these factors could actually dominate the likelihood of injury and death in auto accidents, answering a question of which OCCUPANT is safest, they are not relevant to which SEAT is safest. If I asked which car is safest under these circumstances: a 1953 Buick in a garage pretend driven by a 5 year old or a 2014 Volvo driven by a drunk and stuck at a railway crossing, the answer would not really reflect the inherent safety of the cars.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

(OP)
Thanks for all the comments. What I was wondering initially was, with all things being equal, would a passenger or driver suffer more injuries due to seat belt position (going over one shoulder vs. the other effecting different organs). Greg brought up a good point about the steering column and peddle box. I guess the simplest case would be a head on collision as tbuelna said, as crashes from one side or the other are going to harm whoever is sitting closest (I would think).

As far as bracing for impact, I heard anecdotally that a drunk driver is less likely to be injured because they are more relaxed at impact, though I don't know if that is actually supported by any evidence or not.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

The way I look at it, the passenger seat is the most dangerous simply because if that is your seat, you have no control or chance to avoid the wreck. You are just along for the ride.

RE: Most dangerous seat in a car?

Until the collapsible steering column came about, I would think that the drivers would have been a lot worse than the passengers during front end collisions.

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