Perhaps due to their smaller stature, women drivers may be especially vulnerable to injury in a collision. To protect yourself…

  • Sit with your chest at least 10 inches from the steering wheel. If you sit too close, the airbag may strike you with excessive force in an accident. Slightly recline the back of your seat...and to guard against whiplash, position the headrest at head height (not neck height).
  • Tilt the steering wheel downward. This points the airbag at your breastbone, not your head. If your steering wheel telescopes, move it closer to the dash.
  • Consider pedal extenders. Adjustable rods connect the accelerator and brake to a second set of pedals that are easier to reach.

For a referral: National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, 800-833-0427,

  • Buckle up. If you are pregnant, put the lap strap below your belly and the shoulder strap between your breasts and off to the side of your stomach.
  • Shop smart. When buying a new car, look for height-adjustable seats and shoulder belts... adjustable pedals...tilting and telescoping steering wheel. low dash and hood...good visibility through all windows.. airbags that adjust for the driver's height and seat position.

Editor's note: Cars that rate well for shorter drivers include BMW 3 series, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Lexus RX330, Toyota Avalon

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