The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

A Day In The Life Of A Foot Trauma Surgeon: Bare Feet On The Dashboard

Posted by on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


One of our specialties at our NYC Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is the treatment of trauma. We get a lot of car accident victims through our doors who have immediate emergency surgery needs. There is a lot of blood and gore that is certainly not for the faint of heart! One of the unfortunate truths about many of these injuries is that they are avoidable — particularly the cases where someone was riding with feet on the dashboard.

Is It Dangerous To Put Feet On The Dashboard?

In the most horrific cases, feet on the dashboard have caused driver distraction — which, in turn, causes a sudden crash. Roll-over crashes where everyone is buckled in properly may be terrifying, but often everyone can walk away with barely a scratch. In the cases where someone’s foot was on the dashboard, the legs and feet can go straight through the dashboard, causing immediate amputation. Sometimes people recover the missing toes and ask foot surgeons to “sew them back on again.” Only — it isn’t always so simple, especially if the tendons, nerves and flesh have suffered tremendous damage in the collision.

Airbags Are A Blessing… But Only If You’re Seated Properly.

According to RAC Insurance in Australia, airbags deploy at about 205 miles per hour, with a force greater than 881 pounds. The idea is that your face hits the airbag long a second after the initial propulsion of the safety device. However, if your feet are right on top of the airbag, there is no second. They are instantly impacted.

“Where a passenger has their feet on the dashboard, airbag deployment could result in their knees being forced into their chest or face,” RAC cautions. On top of that, there are risks of leg fractures, fractured feet, spinal injuries and injury to internal organs when the effectiveness of the seat belt is compromised.

Feet On Dashboards Cause Distraction & Injury.

The Toronto Metro adds that legs and feet up on the dashboard can block the driver’s view of the passenger-side window and mirror, not to mention cause a distraction for other people driving around them. Forum conversations verify that a number of people have, in fact, noticed passengers with feet on the dashboard. They tell stories of people they know who’ve suffered broken ankles, multiple leg fractures, pulled ligaments, broken cheekbones and jaws, ripped off legs and traumatic bleeding deaths.

The Bottom Line: Don’t let that be you with the horrific foot and leg injury. Please, for heaven’s sake, keep your feet off the dash!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.