Conventional wisdom has always said that the safest place to sit in the car is in the back seat. After all, that line of thinking is part of the reason why parents position baby seats behind them.
But new research is playing musical chairs, to use a phrase, with the concept of seat safety. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) now identifies that the front seat is much safer than the back in a front-end collision.
Where is the safest seat in the car? You might be surprised
The study looked at 117 fatal crashes involving older children and adults using seatbelts, according to USA Today.
The main reason for the change is that safety standards have improved dramatically in recent years. That means that the front passenger seat, which used to be called the “death seat,” is no longer the risk it once was.
“It’s not that the rear seat has become less safe, it’s that the front seat has become more safe over time,” IIHS David President Harkey says in the report, according to NBC News.
3 safety tips to remember on the road
- Always buckle up: The safest way to ride is with your seat belt fastened at all times. Do this before the car is moving and unbuckle only when you’ve reached your destination and the car is turned off.
- Keep it down: Making a commotion in the front or back seat could cause the driver to lose their focus. Relax while you’re in the car and roads will be much safer for all.
- Seat small children in the back: Despite the IIHS findings, auto safety experts still advise that young children be put in car seats in the back seat, where they aren’t at risk from the force of airbags, which are designed with adults in mind.
Looking for a new car? Money expert Clark Howard says shopping with safety in mind has become easier. In fact, many 2019 model cars and SUVs have won safety awards.