Woman Who Rode With Feet on Dashboard Shares 'Gruesome' Story

Airbags can deploy at speeds up to 220mph
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2017 7:47 PM CDT
Updated Aug 13, 2017 6:41 AM CDT
There's an airbag under those feet.   (Getty Images / fcscafeine)

(Newser) – Audra Tatum of Walker County, Georgia, says that for years she has sat in the passenger's seat with her legs crossed and her feet propped up on the dashboard. She says her husband always warned her about the dangers of sitting like that, but she never heeded his advice—and is paying dearly for what she tells CBS News was her own "ignorance." That's because she always thought she could put her feet down in time if necessary. But when a car pulled in front of her husband, causing the couple's car to T-bone him, everyone else walked away with minor scrapes, while she suffered what WTVR describes as "gruesome injuries," including a broken femur, ankle, and arm thanks to the airbag's impact.

"The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose," the mother of three says. "I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me." She is still recovering two years after the accident, and wants to get her story out. The Chattanooga Fire Department is helping, linking to her story and posting to Facebook about the dangers of riding with feet on the dashboard. The message: "While traveling this weekend, I noticed many passengers had their feet on the dashboard of their car. Airbags deploy between 100 & 220 MPH. If you ride with your feet on the dash and you're involved in an accident, the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets." Tatum adds: "If I can save one person from doing this and they're not going through it, that would be wonderful." (This Georgia driver came upon the scene of her own son's death.)

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