It turns out that bejeweling your car’s interior isn’t just in bad taste – it can hurt you in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a consumer alert, warning people about “aftermarket steering wheel decals that could potentially cause significant injury or death.”
The NHTSA noted one incident in which a driver was blinded in one eye after being struck with rhinestones that became dislodged from the steering wheel. Though they may feel secure, anything attached to the wheel can become a projectile when the airbags deploy, and most products aren’t the highest quality.
Airbags deploy with tremendous force, which is why small children have to ride in the back seat. Additionally, the Takata airbag recall, one of the most significant safety recalls of all time, is still adding new vehicles to its ranks several years after it was first announced.
Jewels and other decorations obviously fall into this category, but they aren’t the only products that can become dangerous. Aftermarket decals and vehicle logos applied after the vehicle’s production are also included, so it’s best to keep your steering wheel stock. It’s worth noting that this also applies to replacing your factory steering wheel with an aftermarket unit. Leave the airbags alone unless you’re heavily racing the car or using it exclusively on the track.
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