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View Poll Results: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car?
Front Left Passenger Seat (A) 58 37.66%
Rear Left Passenger Seat (B) 83 53.90%
Other 13 8.44%
Voters: 154. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 25th July 2016, 16:32   #1
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Default Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

The other day, met up with a friend whose work requires him to do frequent road trips to up country towns and cities in the North East. Most of these trips are same day returns with a total distance coverage between 300~500kms (round trip) on state & national highways. On an average, he does one trip each week. Almost half of this is on undivided 2-lane state highways.

His earlier car was a Ford Figo, but keeping safety in mind, he has recently purchased a top model Honda City iDTEC which comes equipped with ABS & Dual SRS Airbags. He usually travels alone with his chauffer.

The debate steered towards road safety and from there on to which is the safest seat in the car.

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He always travels in the front passenger seat and is of the firm belief that in an Airbag equipped car, this is the safest seat for a passenger. (Marked - A – in the image)

He has three arguments to support his belief:
+ Two pairs of eyes on the road
+ Chauffer stays more alert as owner is seated next to him
+ Huge passenger airbag to cushion the impact in case of an accident

My understanding says that head on collisions are usually the most fatal of accidents and since a large portion of his traveling on undivided highways, there’s a huge risk of head on collisions. In such cases, the left rear seat (Marked - B – in the image) should offer the maximum safety.

What are your opinion guys? Please share with supporting logic!

Last edited by vikash49 : 25th July 2016 at 16:36.
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Old 25th July 2016, 17:14   #2
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Default Which is the SAFEST seat in a car?

With the rapid strides made in safety of passenger cars, I would vote for A. The front passenger seat. If properly belted and good structural integrity this would probably the place to be in if involved in a crash.

Seat belts, airbags - front, curtain and knee , bucket seats , crumple zones make this place safe.

The problem with the rear seats is that there has hardly been any advancement on the safety except in a few luxury cars. Also the clumsy positioning of the belt buckles leads to passengers generally not wearing the belts. There are also chances of the front seat breaking away and being pushed back into the rear.
So what happens if shunted from the rear. Most cars have poorer crumple zones at the rear, no airbags from the rear, luggage intrusion etc.

For a child seat ,I would recommend the rear middle seat , away from all the airbags.
Could be wrong but this is my opinion.

Last edited by Arjun Reddy : 25th July 2016 at 17:18.
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Old 25th July 2016, 18:16   #3
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Default re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

This is very subjective. Safest seat depends on a lot of factors in case of a collision.

It depends on:
1. Speed at which collision occurs
2. Object with which the vehicle as collided
3. Angle of collision
4. Safety aspects of the vehicle (Seat-belt, ABS, etc)
5. Usage of seat-belt by the occupants

The whole unpredictability of the traffic scene makes it hard to declare which of the seats is the safest in a vehicle.

All things said, the safest seat is in that vehicle which is driven properly and where the occupants are belted up. Rest is up to chance.
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Old 25th July 2016, 18:27   #4
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Default re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

There is a reason why rear middle seat is the safest for a child seat - it is the safest seat in a car. The sad thing is that in most modern cars, the safest seat is reserved for the arm rest. If the seat marked 'B' was indeed the safest, the fuel tank (traditionally) would have been positioned under it, rather than at the center.
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Old 25th July 2016, 18:44   #5
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Default re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

I voted for other. As I feel the safest seat by far is the Driver's seat, as -

1) We have good control on the proceedings, and we can greatly minimize the risks if we keep a sane and cool head, and don't attempt anything stupid while on the move.

2) At any given point, we are aware of the situation and can anticipate things much better when we are at the helm ( unless we fall asleep, God save the driver and the passengers in that case )

This is after travelling as a passenger with rash drivers, in a car without ABS or airbags, and tiny tyres on a rainy day... I had to keep talking about the Bajaj manager's crash in a BMW to keep speeds in check, while clinging onto the seat and the seat belt.

Last edited by GTO : 26th July 2016 at 11:16. Reason: Manager, not CEO :)
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Old 26th July 2016, 11:29   #6
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

To me, the safest seat is the driver's seat . There's no one else whose driving I trust more than my own!

Back on the topic though, if I were a passenger, I'd pick the front passenger's seat. Reasons:

- More cars have airbags at the front than the rear.

- I can keep an eye on the road too.

- The NHTSA said that, to ace crash tests, car manufacturers have largely focused on front occupant safety - related thread. Even the IIHS agrees with this.

- The front seat is also more comfortable - related thread (Why the fascination with the back seat?!!).

Of course, the jury is still out, with some studies saying that the front seat is safer (link), while others say it's the rear (link).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
There is a reason why rear middle seat is the safest for a child seat
It's different for adults & children. Among other reasons, you place the child at the rear so that the front airbag doesn't fatally injure them. According to the IIHS:

Quote:
For children, the back remains the safest place to ride. Children 12 and younger account for 56 percent of passengers who sit in the back of vehicles, but only 24 percent of crash fatalities, according to a recent study by the IIHS and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that reviewed U.S. accidents between 2007 and 2012.

The same is not true for adults. For those 55 and older, even those using seat belts were more likely to die in a crash while seated in the back than in the front, according to the study. Researchers said that was consistent with prior data showing that adults in the rear are more likely than adults in the front to sustain chest injuries. They also said there was "some evidence of an elevated risk of head and neck injuries for restrained women seated in the rear compared with the front."
Source
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Old 26th July 2016, 11:50   #7
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

Rear left for RHD & Rear right for LHD vehicles.
Itís officially followed by most officials in Government vehicles.
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Old 26th July 2016, 12:50   #8
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

If a crash is unavoidable, would your driver crash into his side or the passenger's side? But seriously speaking, sitting next to the driver and watching the road is akin to ACTIVE SAFETY (like ABS). You try to avoid having accidents altogether.

But sitting in the backseat is safer from PASSIVE SAFETY point of view. Without an iota of doubt, the rear seats are safer, especially when you are belted.

1) There is simply lot of metal to go through before you the tree or bus gets to you.

2) More energy is absorbed by the car, and less energy is transferred to you.

3) Less risk of injuries from glass and metal in the backseat when compared to front (especially to eyes, face etc).

4) Anecdotal evidence suggests that front passenger fatality is higher than rear passengers. Just go through "Accidents" thread on Team-bhp.
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Old 26th July 2016, 13:19   #9
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I can keep an eye on the road too.
I don't see any advantage in that, since I am not behind of the steering. Accident happens in fraction of a second.

In my opinion, rear seat is safer compared to front seats.
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Old 26th July 2016, 14:27   #10
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

I voted for Rear seat, Diagonal to the driver's seat.

More accidents happen in the front collision (though there are enough cases of being rear-ended or hit on the sides) Sitting in the rear seat diagnoally to the driver is thus more safer. Is it a coincidence that most CEOs, and top management who are chauffeur driven, occupy this position ?
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Old 26th July 2016, 14:35   #11
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by basubhatta View Post
I don't see any advantage in that, since I am not behind of the steering. Accident happens in fraction of a second.
Well there is a HUGE Advantage in sitting on the passenger's seat in the front!

Accidents always happen in fraction of second but "prevention" of such accidents can always be a pro-active task.

After all, we know ABS Helps prevent accidents and Airbags during an accident! A good travel partner is always a blessing. Doesn't matter even if he doesn't know how to drive.

A popular travel operator from Karnataka had come with a report on accidental deaths involving their buses and in most of the cases it was the cleaner/conductor seated on the left side who lost his life.

The deaths were mostly while overtaking from left on dual carriageways (Something that our country's roads are becoming famous for now) where there was either a slower moving heavy vehicle or a stationary truck that the conductor often missed mostly because he was fast asleep.

So next time you spot a bus from this operator, you will notice a HD Camera mounted closer to the left ORVM that continuously displays the road ahead onto a LCD screen as viewed from the conductor sitting on the left side of the bus. The bus driver could hence judge and take decisions during crucial overtaking maneuvers.

Post this, accidents reduced and efficiency increased too - I don't think I need to explain how here.

Where did I get this "Data" from? I have a close friend who's spouse is related to the family that owns this group.

Now, coming to my own case:

I can only trust my father and very few friends when it comes to acknowledging what they have to guide when on road - Yes, blindly as I have covered lakhs of kilometers where my father has been my co-passenger.

There are a lot of instances where you are forewarned if you have a good co-passenger. A co-passenger who thinks that the safest seat for him and also think he can trust his driver sitting on that seat.

Last edited by paragsachania : 26th July 2016 at 14:36.
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Old 26th July 2016, 15:45   #12
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by basubhatta View Post
I don't see any advantage in that, since I am not behind of the steering. Accident happens in fraction of a second.

In my opinion, rear seat is safer compared to front seats.
True that..the accidents which I met while driving, I tried to rewind the moment (I am privileged !!) and think what I could have done to avoid this. The answer is.. nothing !! My reflexes are not fast enough to beat that split second (mili, micro or nano).

Given an option to choose a seat, where I know that the car is going to crash, my choice would be rear right. Why because, though the front passengers are equipped with airbags, there is no gurantee that they will open. Many of us have read experiences where depending on the impact angle the bag did not inflate at all.

Secondly, sometimes driver does not have a clear sense or idea of the left. The rear left is too much vulnerable to bruises and might be some major accidents. Driver might also try to save himself first due to reflex action. So, staying behind him should be the best choice
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Old 26th July 2016, 16:02   #13
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

One large study of the subject, by researchers at the University of Buffalo in 2006, analyzed more than 60,000 fatal crashes and found that passengers in the middle back seat were 86 percent more likely to survive than those in the front seats, and 25 percent more likely to survive than those in the other rear seats.

But the study also found that about half of all adults in the middle back seat neglected to wear seat belts. They were about three times as likely to die in a crash as middle-back-seat passengers who did buckle up. And not wearing a seat belt in the back can have unfortunate consequences for those up front. One study found that even when passengers in the front wore seat belts, their odds of dying were five times as great if those in the back were not belted, a result of back-seat passengers’ being thrown forward on impact.

THE BOTTOM LINE In an accident, the middle back seat is the safest place to be.

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Old 26th July 2016, 16:28   #14
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

My vote is for A.

During an head-on collusion or otherwise where you were seated becomes subjective and it would be resultant of lot of factors. As you friend rightly says, two pairs of eyes on the road makes a big difference! But yes, co-passenger seats are built to be safer than the back seats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikash49 View Post
He has three arguments to support his belief:
+ Two pairs of eyes on the road
+ Chauffer stays more alert as owner is seated next to him
+ Huge passenger airbag to cushion the impact in case of an accident
The below statement sums it up, prevention is always better and two pairs of eyes makes it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Accidents always happen in fraction of second but "prevention" of such accidents can always be a pro-active task.
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Old 27th July 2016, 10:27   #15
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Default Re: Which is the SAFEST seat in a car - front or rear?

I have absolutely no reasoning or logic to offer but remember one incident which is deeply etched in my memory.

In 1991 one of my uncle was scheduled to go from Bharatpur to Jaipur so he went to the bus stand and actually sat in the ST bus which was about to leave. At the same time some of his office colleagues were also going to Jaipur as they all had to attend a wedding of one office colleague. They were going by Ambassador and had one seat vacant. So they went to the bus stand and took the uncle with him. Later that car met with an a very bad accident and four passengers incl that uncle passed away. The only passenger survived was the one sitting in the middle of the rear seat.

I can safely say that NO seat in a car is safe atleast in our country seeing the Accidents in India thread.

At the same time I am damn scared seeing the gap between rear glass and third row of seats in Ertiga, XUV5OO, etc.
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