With the recent recalls, there has been a lot of discussion regarding floor mats. These inconspicuous accessories to every automobile on the planet have rarely been the focus of intense discussion. Indeed, most of the time the only way a floor mat is mentioned is if it is dirty or particularly funny/interesting.
But, since the slew of accidents and even fatalities, the spotlight has been rightfully shined on these potential hazards.
How is a floor mat dangerous?
The danger of floor mats don’t come from anything mechanical, but more in their ability to stay in place. If a mat were to slide forward when a driver is actively engaged in using the accelerator and brake pedals, it could cause an unwanted increase or decrease in speed.
Some instances of floor mat disruption involve the brakes. If a mat bunches up underneath a brake it could hamper the drivers ability to depress the pedal. When braking, a person only has a small window to react properly and this kind of distraction has been known to delay reaction long enough to cause accidents.
The other major way mats can be dangerous is causing a sticking effect of the accelerator. Sometimes the mat gets flipped on top of the pedal, other times its gripping nature causes the pedal to stay depressed. In both scenarios the driver does not get the reduction in acceleration when they release the pedal, which can cause distraction and problems when trying to brake in time.
What kind of floor mats are dangerous?
The most dangerous floor mats are after market models that do not properly fit the mold of your vehicle. It is the driver’s responsibility when purchasing an after market mat to make sure it fits, and ideally, works well with any hooks or stabilizing elements your car features.
Also dangerous are mats that are explicitly recalled from companies. These are mats that do not work well with safety measures put in place, or simply do not have enough safety measures to begin with.
Are there any solutions to mat problems?
If you are worried about mat safety, the first and best thing you can do is simply remove the mat. Your car floor may get dirty, but it is much better than suffering a crash.
Continue to err on the side of safety until you can find a model that secures tightly to your vehicle, and ideally has retaining hooks to keep it in place.