Get Your Feet Off My Dash! The Prequel

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
get your feet off my dash the prequel

Do not click the link in the next paragraph if you are at work.

It’s one of the most popular posts in TTAC history, and it’s absolutely emblematic of the Bertel Era here at this site. It’s completely not safe for work and before you click it, I want you to think about whether you are at work, and if you are at work, do not click this link with horrifying non-work-safe pictures that you should not view at work.

The link above? Don’t view it at work. It’s disgusting.

The article is called A Day in the Life of a Trauma Surgeon: Get Your Foot Off of My Dash and it contains graphic photographs of what can happen to your feet if they are on a car dashboard when the airbags go off. At the time, I considered the article, and the included photographs, to represent the absolute nadir of this website’s management and content selection.

But there is at least one person out there who probably wishes she’d been forced to read it, graphic images and all. Unfortunately for her, it was published three years too late.

Back in 2010, Bethany Benson, a young woman in her early twenties, was road-tripping with her boyfriend and she had her feet up on the dashboard. A chain-reaction accident ahead of her led to a stopped tractor-trailer dead ahead. When her boyfriend failed to stop in time…

…okay, hold on a moment.

A loaded tractor-trailer requires over five hundred feet to come to a halt from 65 mph. A Pontiac Sunfire like the one driven by Benson’s boyfriend can do it in about 170 feet. Given the photographs of the Sunfire, it was probably doing 30 mph or more when it struck the stopped trailer. So there’s perhaps four hundred feet of inattention involved here. At sixty-five miles per hour, that’s four complete and total seconds of not paying attention to the road ahead of you.

Now it’s possible that the tractor-trailer was still moving at the time, which means that Benson’s boyfriend wasn’t asleep at the wheel. He simply allowed himself to be out braked by an 80,000-pound truck with what was probably first-generation ABS and retread tires. I don’t know what to say at that point. If you get out braked by a truck, tear up your license and go home, because you have no business driving on a freeway. I understand that following the one-car-length-per-ten-miles-per-hour rule in modern traffic conditions will result in cars swerving around you and filling the space. So when something happens like an Audi S8 out braking the Land Cruiser behind it, you have to chalk it up to the way things are. But getting out braked by a tractor-trailer?

What happened next was traumatic for Ms. Benson, of course.

Because of the proximity of her legs to the airbag, it forcefully hit her hamstring, causing her feet to push up and through the windshield.

As a result, her knees slammed into her eyes, causing her left eye socket and cheekbone to crack. In addition, she broke her nose, eight bones in her left foot, and three bones in her right foot.

Many of her external injuries have healed, but she still lives in constant pain. She takes a pharmacy worth of pills every days, she is required to wear expensive orthopedic shoes, and the bleeding in her brain resulted in irreversible effects.

The article goes on to suggest that Ms. Benson has regressed to the level of a thirteen-year-old, at least in the expressed opinion of her mother, who also made sure to inform reporters that she would no longer be able to retire because she’d be taking care of her daughter. Part of me wants to open a Bible to Matthew 6:5 and hit that person over the head with it so she gets the message; another part of me just hopes that Ms. Benson isn’t consigned to a community-theater production of “Misery” in the form of this self-pitying woman looking after her for the rest of her life.

This story has spread through the Internet like the proverbial wildfire in the past few days. But if you know anybody who continues to put her — and let’s face it, it’s always her — feet on the dashboard, you might want to talk to her about it. And while severed toes and the like make for a wonderfully shocking story, the real tragedy is in what happens in the long years after you leave the trauma surgeon’s office.

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4 of 63 comments
  • Tekdemon Tekdemon on Aug 19, 2015

    I tell my girlfriend this every time and she always gets angry about it and points out all the other women in other cars doing this. What is it with women and putting their feet on the dash by the airbag?! My female friends try this nonsense too.

    • See 1 previous
    • JimC2 JimC2 on Aug 19, 2015

      If you keep saying it then people might listen.

  • JimC2 JimC2 on Aug 19, 2015

    Excellent point about being out-braked by an 18-wheeler and it needed to be said. Goes along with the is driving is a privilege or is it a right? If you're that bad at driving then you don't really have a right to be on the same roads as people who are good at it.

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.