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Is the back seat of a car safer in an accident?

| Nov 2, 2021 | Car Accidents

If you are seated in the back seat, you might believe that you have a greater degree of safety if you are in a car involved in a collision in Washington state. Maybe you feel that the backs of the driver’s seat and passenger seat will act as a cushion to stop you from flying forward. (You should be wearing your seat belt as well.)

And if you are in the rear seat, you won’t be thrust into the steering wheel or forcefully go through the windshield. You presumably won’t be ejected through the windshield, either.

All that traditional wisdom just might not be valid anymore, at least according to a 2019 study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

A USA Today article about the IIHS study concluded that “You could be at more risk of dying or suffering serious injury in a head-on collision than someone sitting in the front.”

The article continued:  “Rear passengers often lack sufficient protection in frontal crashes.”

The back seat of a vehicle doesn’t protect you as you think 

What is the truth about rear-seat vehicle safety?

  • The IIHS study found that seat belts in the back seats of cars do not necessarily feature similar protective characteristics as those installed in front seats. Also, people sometimes suffer injuries from their head hitting the front seat or from seat belts across the chest that are excessively constricting.
  • Front-seat safety features have evolved significantly over time as opposed to their rear-seat counterparts.

Don’t stop using your rear-seat seat belt! You should still definitely use your seat belt if you are seated in the rear of a car. It will afford you some protection as opposed to not wearing one at all. It is not foolproof, however. 

Hurt in a collision?

Consult a physician right away. You could be injured and not know about it. The next thing is to learn more about your rights to compensation as a motor vehicle accident victim.

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