In 2015, over 32,000 people died in the United States in car accidents, the highest death toll since 2007. Non-fatal car accidents total out even higher, and although people may be thankful to escape with their lives, there are still many ways in you can reduce your risk of injury in a crash. (Here’s why you need to teach your children about car safety.)
There are the standard, seemingly no-brainers of automotive safety, like wearing a seatbelt, not speeding, and never drinking and driving. These are factors which are within your control. But another seemingly harmless car-riding habit may be putting your body at serious risk, just ask Audra Tatum. (Here’s why you should always open your car door with your right hand.)
Tatum and her husband are from Walker County, Georgia, and have three kids. Naturally, that requires quite a bit of running around dropping off kids at various activities and whenever she was in the front passenger’s side of her family’s car, she would so something that her husband always warned her about, according to CBS News.
“All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash…My husband always told me, ‘You’re going to get in a wreck someday, and you’re going to break your legs.'”
Tatum always told her husband that she would be able to react in time before the airbag would deploy. On Aug. 2, 2015, she learned her lesson the hard way. While going on a short four-mile drive to her parents’ house, a car pulled out in front of their car, and then T-boned it.
While the other passengers escaped with just scrapes and bruises, Tatum’s femur, ankle, arm, and nose were broken on impact.
She was unable to walk for a month and is still going recovering from the injuries two years later. Now, she wants everyone to take her misfortune as a warning: Do not put your foot on the dashboard. (This is the number-one mistake parents make with car seats in winter.)
“I keep telling everybody, you don’t want this life,” she said. “You don’t want the pain and agony every day.”
Originally published as Why You Should Never, Ever Put Your Feet on the Dashboard on ReadersDigest.com.