When you pack everyone into the car to go on a journey, do you always dread the fight about who has to sit in the middle seat? Everyone knows that when you sit in the middle, you end up with the most uncomfortable journey – there’s nowhere to rest your head, your feet never sit properly on the hump and leg room is limited.
However, research shows that the middle seat may in fact be a safer option for children when travelling in a car. Many modern cars have three-point seatbelts fitted for the middle seat as well as the other backseats and it is often the safest seat to sit in as it is in a position that creates the longest distance from impact in a collision. For example, if you have a side-on crash, the outer seat will take the direct hit and will crumple often leaving the middle seat relatively untouched.
According to a study conducted by The Daily Mail, using a specific car seat that is strapped into the car is also a safe way to transform the middle seat into a safer travelling option, although this only applies to small children. It is often the youngest member of the family often gets lumped with the middle seat in a journey and this can be down to the fact that the older children play the older sibling card or because the youngest are often the smallest, meaning they need less room.
Many still fear the middle seat is dangerous and rightly so to a point, as there is nothing protecting the person in the middle seat from a head-on collision that sees the windscreen smash – a similar danger is posed to front-seated passengers.
But, are there any other reasons why the middle seat may be the best one to take in the car? Some interesting research shows that children who sit in the middle seat are more likely to be successful in life. Many times they get lumbered with the centre seat because they are passive or may have lost the argument but it can also give them a sense of power, as they are seated in the centre of everything going on in the car. It gives them the opportunity to assert their authority over their siblings and it also offers the best view out of the front window.
Another reason why car manufacturers are focusing hard on changing their middle seats is the comfort factor. It is undoubtedly the most uncomfortable seat in a car, which is why most people don’t want to sit there. The hump, the lack of personal space and no head rest are three of the most obvious reasons (although the hump can’t be removed as it is there for structural reasons related to the engine). But some modern MPVs don’t have a hump, as they have altered the way their engines sit underneath the vehicle, meaning the hump is not necessary.
There are arguments for and against the middle seat but can one override the other? It seems that a modern car, minus the uncomfortable factors and including a proper seatbelt, can indeed change the argument about who sits where in the future.