There’s just something so wholesome and right about kicking your bare feet up on the dashboard while the wind blows through your hair.
But it’s actually such a dangerous thing to do. One woman’s harrowing experience makes it clear that it’s not worth the risk for that momentary sense of comfort.
Audra Tatum, a mother of three from Walker County, Georgia, would always — without fail — ride in the passenger seat of the car with her feet on the dashboard.
Even when her husband warned her that it was dangerous, she believed she’d be OK.
“All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dashboard,” Tatum told CBS News. “My husband always told me, ‘You’re going to get in a wreck someday, and you’re going to break your legs.’”
“I’ll put my foot down in time,” she’d always say.
But now, Tatum is singing a much different tune.
On August 2, 2015, Tatum and her husband were driving to her parents’ house when a car whizzed by unexpectedly, causing them to T-bone him.
The airbag on Tatum’s side deployed, and because her foot was on the dashboard, it threw her foot up to her face, breaking her nose.
“I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me,” Tatum told CBS News.
Everyone walked away from the accident with minor injuries.
Except for Tatum. Her ankle, femur, and arm were all broken.
“Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance,” Tatum said. “I’m not Superman. I couldn’t put my foot down in time.”
She certainly learned that lesson the hard way.
The Chattanooga Fire Department recently posted this warning, which is all too relevant considering Tatum’s accident.
Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 miles per hour. That’s much too fast for you to react and get your feet down safely.
To follow up, the fire department posted Tatum’s devastating story as a warning to others.
Tatum had to endure multiple surgeries and weeks of physical therapy to recover. She wasn’t able to walk until a month after the accident.
Two years later, she’s still dealing with repercussions from her decision to sit with her feet on the dash.
“I can’t do my career as an EMS. I can’t lift patients anymore,” she told CBS News. “I can’t stand more than 4 hours at a time. Once I’m at that 4-hour mark I’m in tears.”