When considering a car’s safety features, most buyers typically want to know how many airbags there are, and if traction control is present.
Few motorists, however, are aware of anti-submarining or anti-submarine seats for front passengers.
WHAT ARE ANTI-SUBMARINING SEATS?
Anti-submarine seats have a metal plate at their base. This helps reduce the risk of the passenger sliding down or submarining in the event of a collision.
Though proven to help reduce or even prevent this from happening, not all cars today have them.
WHY IS THERE A RISK OF SUBMARINING?
Even if the occupant is secured with a three-point seat belt, this may not prevent him or her from sliding down in a collision.
In a car crash, the impact of a vehicle against another causes occupants to be thrown forward against the seat belt.
However, if the impact is severe, there is a chance that the occupant, although buckled up, may slide downwards.
When this happens, the occupant’s torso ends up being pinned under the lap belt.
In a worst-case scenario, the occupant may even slide out of the seat. This puts him/her at risk of being ejected from the car, especially in the case of a roll-over.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A CAR HAS ANTI-SUBMARINING SEATS?
You can do this by putting your hand under the squab (the bottom part of the seat) and feeling for a metal plate.
In most cars, you won’t feel anything except leather or fabric. If you’re in doubt, ask the salesperson.
And if the salesperson is also uncertain, ask him or her to check with their product specialist/s.
CAN I RETRO-FIT ANTI-SUBMARINING SEATS?
If your car doesn’t have these seats, don’t worry too much. You don’t have to run out and buy aftermarket seats.
What you can and should do is ensure that you and your passengers adopt proper seating positions.
Don’t just buckle up and assume that you’ve done all you can.