Safety Archive

Vehicle Safety Quick Tip–Driver Position


While I was at the Lexus Family Safety Camp, the professional drivers gave us pointers to be better, safer drivers.   Here are some tips on how to adjust your seating position as a driver.

Adjust your steering wheel so that it’s far enough away that your arms bend comfortably.  Ladies, I know that some of you have problems reaching the pedals to drive, but you must have space between your chest and the steering wheel!  That airbag will do some serious damage to the girls!  And, while you’re adjusting the distance between you and the steering wheel, adjust the angle of the wheel so that it’s aimed at your chest, not your face.  You want it aimed at your sturdy chest bones, not your fragile face.  If it’s too much to change all at once, try changing just a bit every day or two—you won’t even notice after a week.

Your hand positions should be at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock or a little lower.  If you’ll notice, manufacturers have changed the design of the steering wheel so the hand notches are lower; that’s not just for comfort.  We used to be taught to hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, but if you do that now and the airbag deploys, your hands will be forced back at your face.  Ouch!  Nothing like punching yourself in the face ;).  So keep those hands low and safe.

Adjust your head restraint so that the tops of your ears are midway on the head restraint.  If you have adjustable shoulder belts, adjust the height so that the shoulder belt falls midway between your neck and the edge of your shoulder.  You may want it a smidge closer to your neck so that you don’t roll out of it in a crash, but don’t make it uncomfortable so that you push it out of position.

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Review: More Wows!


I feel I need to start this review with a disclaimer. I am not a huge infant seat user. I didn’t have one for my older daughter, and I didn’t purchase one with my baby. I was looking forward to the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air road test as a way to try out something I’m not used to at all.

And if I may echo Darren, WOW.

As Darren stated in his review, the installation is easy. He put it in his Prius and Odyssey, and to that we can add a 2001 Nissan Xterra, 2008 Acura TSX, and 1989 Subaru GL. More on these later. I’m a scant 5’1”, so there would never have been a concern with putting it directly behind me in my Xterra, but what is a concern is the angle of my backseat. To put my convertible in rear facing for a newborn angle I required FIVE pool noodles. My baby is eight and a half months old now, and so does not need a newborn angle, but I installed the onBoard 35 Air as for a newborn in my car to see how easy it would be with the Mt. Fuji of sloped backseats. And wow (is there a wow quota? I may go over it).

No noodles were needed. Nothing. Just put the foot out and install.

Vehicle Safety Quick Tip


While I was at the Lexus Family Safety Camp, the professional drivers gave us pointers to be better, safer drivers.  Here are some tips to help you should an emergency situation call for emergency braking.

Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

Your brakes are more powerful than your engine.  Here, let me say it again.  Your brakes are more powerful than your engine.  Your vehicle’s brakes should be able to stop you if they are in good working order.  If you are in a situation where your vehicle refuses to stop (for instance, a runaway vehicle with the motor racing), put the gear lever into neutral and apply the brakes.  The vehicle will stop.  As a last resort, turn the motor off.  In doing so, your power systems—power steering and power braking—will cease working after a few seconds, but the vehicle will still be drivable enough for you to steer to the side of the road and brake; it’ll just require more effort.

Anti-lock brakes pump the brake pedal for you.  In the olden days (oh, say, when I learned how to drive), we were taught to pump the brakes for maximum braking efficiency.  Nowadays, that’s what ABS does for us.  The proper way to use the system is to step on the brakes.  If anti-lock is needed, the brake pedal will vibrate automatically (it’s scary if you’ve never felt/heard it before!).  Just step on the brake pedal and let it do its job.

Infant Seat Handle Positions


A common question parents often have when using infant seats is “where should the handle go—up or down?”  It’s not that simple anymore, actually.  On some seats, the handle must be up.  On some, the handle must be down.  On one, the handle is recommended to be placed all the way forward, toward the baby’s feet!  And I guarantee you that in every vehicle but one I’ve seen with an Evenflo infant seat, the handle has been in the incorrect up position.  So, instead of playing “Guess the Handle Position” with your infant seat handles, let’s get some help.

We’re big supporters of SafetyBeltSafe USA here at the blog.  They work tirelessly in pursuit of child passenger safety and have for years, trying to push legislation and forward thinking.  SBS USA is the nonprofit organization that produces the manufacturers’ instructions CD that every technician should have and the color pictorial that helps us identify those pesky CL carseats that leave us scratching our heads.  SBS USA has gone and done it again: they’ve created a document listing all infant seats and their handle positions.  After you’ve checked out the handle positions document, take a look at all the other documents they have for free on their website: .  And I know that this blog post didn’t start out this way, but if you have a couple bucks left over in your PayPal account, you might want to thank SBS USA for their generous help and dedication to all of us.