Dear Reader,

Imagine this…

You just got your daughter her first car.  She’s over the moon with excitement.  You’re excited, too.  You’ve spent plenty of time riding shotgun with her and know she’s a conscientious and responsible driver.

As young girls are prone to do, she’s ready to accessorize. Soon, she has a custom college decal for the back window, a blinged-out sunglass holder for the vanity mirror, and a rhinestone application for her steering wheel courtesy of her BFF.

You just grin. It’s not your cup of tea, but where’s the harm in it? As long as she keeps the speed under sixty-five and comes to a complete stop at stop signs, she’ll be just fine.

My friend, nothing could be further than the truth.

In the scenario above, this young girl is now driving around with the equivalent of a loaded gun pointed at her pretty face.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a warning about aftermarket steering wheel decals that can cause significant injury or death.  In the last year alone, several unlucky drivers have suffered serious injuries; one even lost an eye because of an aftermarket emblem adorned with rhinestones that were dislodged during a crash.

You probably know this, but in a car crash, the airbag deploys with tremendous force right into the driver’s face.  Under the best of circumstances, airbags can cause bruising, abrasions, and even minor fractions.  Considering the life-saving benefits they offer, this is a small price to pay.

Still, you need to remember that these life-saving devices are launched at several hundred miles per hour…directly at the eyes, nose, throat, and chest of the person behind the wheel.  This means that anything between the airbag and the driver will be launched at the driver with a speed comparable to that of a bullet exiting a handgun.

This means that the pretty little rhinestone decal now becomes a potentially lethal projectile capable of splitting the skull or piercing the skin of the driver as easily as a knife passing through soft butter. Not a pretty sight.

The moral of this story is to beware of aftermarket items on cars and trucks.   Engineers designed your vehicle with safety in mind and anything you, the driver, add to it afterward; you do at your own risk.

Some of the most dangerous aftermarket auto accessories include:

  • Excessive window tinting, which reduces visibility.
  • Lift kits and suspension modifications which can affect your vehicle’s handling and stability.
  • Aftermarket hood scoops and air intakes can disrupt the air-to-fuel ratio and cause engine damage.
  • ANYTHING that can become a projectile in your vehicle, including trinkets dangling from rearview mirrors and toys propped in the front or back of windshields.

My advice, buy a vehicle you’re happy with straight from the dealership and leave it alone.  Use it as the manufacturer intended without adding any aftermarket bells or whistles.  Leave accessorizing for your outfits.

Until next time, please be safe and NEVER text while driving.

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 and 301-949-1515

WordPress Video Lightbox Plugin