Why Car Seat Headrests Angled Forward and Uncomfortable?

Why car seat headrests angled forward?” has been a probing question of new drivers whenever they sit behind a steering wheel for the first time. The angled nature of the headrests makes it uncomfortable and they wish it were different.

An Article About Car Seat Headrest Angle

However, the nature of the headrests gives the impression that the designers knew what they were doing. In this article, we’ll explore the reason behind that “uncomfortable” headrest position.

Why are Your Car Seat Headrests Angled Forward?

Your car seat headrests are angled forward as a safety measure to prevent whiplash in the case of an accident. Also, the angled headrests help to maintain the spine’s alignment, decrease tiredness and reduce head movements during driving. The design also supports the neck muscles and the cranium.


Car headrests are not designed for relaxation but to prevent injury. This answer perfectly explains the question, “Why are car headrests so hard?”.

To Prevent Injuries from Whiplash

The idea behind the headrest’s design is to protect the head and neck of the occupants during a rear-end collision. When a vehicle hits a car from behind, the head and neck tend to move backward with great force. This forceful, sudden movement can cause injuries like hyperextension and pain in the neck.

Injured Driver From Neck Part After An Accident

The angled headrests don’t only protect during accidents but keep drivers safe during sharp or sudden braking. When the car is moving at top speed, applying the brakes suddenly can cause whiplash, endangering the head and neck of the occupants. The forward design of the headrests keeps both the head and neck in position, avoiding injuries.

Keeps the Spine Properly Aligned

The spine’s alignment is also protected during a rear-end collision or sudden braking as the vehicle makes a sharp forward-backward movement. Without the angled headrests, passengers may suffer spine misalignment of spine-related injuries due to sudden movements. The headrests also keep the spine in position with its “forward-looking” design. This stops the pain and other symptoms associated with a misaligned spine.

Increases Comfort and Reduces Fatigue

Though the headrests don’t look like it, they actually increase comfort, especially during long drives. The headrests were designed to follow the natural curvature of the spine and put less pressure on it. If the headrests were straight, the head would tilt slightly forward against its natural position, putting pressure on the back of the neck. This pressure can cause neck pains and misaligned spine problems when you embark on long drives.

Perfect and Comfortable Car Seat

The natural position of the head and the spine helps to reduce fatigue. When the head and spine are not supported in their natural position, tiredness sets in faster. This is because the body has to put in extra effort to maintain those body parts in their unnatural position. However, with the head, neck and spine supported in their natural postures, the body will feel relaxed.

Makes Up for Differences in Heights

The forward position of the headrest is designed to accommodate height differences in occupants. If they were straight or angled backward (which would be awkward), shorter people would find it extremely uncomfortable. However, the forward angle is positioned close to the head, making it comfortable for people of varying heights, even people too short for car headrests.

What Are Some Disadvantages of Flipping Headrests?

Some disadvantages of flipping headrests include reduced protection, high risk of injury, pressure on the neck and spine, reduced visibility and a fine. You could also void your warranty, put the passengers at risk, or damage the headrests. Though it might seem comfortable, flipping your seats can cause long-term injury.

Reduced Protection During a Collision

Flipped headrests reduce protection for your head and neck during a rear-end collision. As explained in the earlier paragraphs, when a vehicle rear-ends you, you experience whiplash. This phenomenon can cause injuries to your head and neck.

Ruined Car After A Collision

The angled headrests provide full protection against whiplash, but flipping them reduces that protection. Thus, you don’t experience the full force and effects of the whiplash. You might have some slight pains in the neck and your upper back area, which are avoidable. Whiplash injuries can be painful and costly to treat; therefore, we advise against flipping headrests.

Pressure on the Neck and Spine

Flipping the headrests puts pressure on the spine, which can be uncomfortable. The headrests are designed to mimic the natural posture of the neck and the spine. Thus, flipping the headrests would put the head and neck in an unnatural position.

An X-ray Pic of A Damaged Spine

When you sit in this posture for some time, excess pressure is exerted on the body to keep the head and neck in their natural positions. The body’s strain to keep the neck and spine upright takes a toll on it, and soon you begin to feel pain around the neck. This pain can result in injuries to the neck, spine, head and shoulder.

Blocks the Driver’s Visibility

The headrests are angled in such a way that drivers can see whatever is happening behind them from the rearview mirror. The manufacturers ensure that nothing, not even the thread used in sewing the headrests, would distract the driver’s vision. Thus, turning them around could get in the driver’s line of sight, reducing their visibility. This is particularly dangerous for the occupants of the vehicle, as compromised driver visibility can lead to accidents.

Paying a Fine

Another reason you shouldn’t flip your seats is to avoid paying a fine. Some jurisdictions take car safety measures seriously and won’t hesitate to issue a fine when you tamper with them. Thus, if you live in a state where tampering with the original design of the headrests is a crime, then be prepared to pay a fine when you’re caught.

Wooden Law Gavel and Charged Fine Dollars

The reason why flipping your headrests is considered an offense is because it might block the drivers’ vision and put other road users at risk. Also, it could interfere with the deployment of airbags during an emergency. When this happens, the airbag might injure occupants of the vehicle when deployed or might not deploy properly. Always check your local safety regulations before you modify your vehicle to be on the right side of the law.

Voiding Your Warranty

You may void your warranty if you flip the headrests, as stated by some car manufacturers. The idea is to deter people from resetting the headrests and to keep occupants safe.

Insurance Agent Holding a Small Car In His Hands

Other manufacturers might not explicitly state that, but you void your warranty when any part of the headrests gets damaged during the flipping process. To be on the safer side, just leave the headrests in their original position, as produced by the manufacturer.

Why Do Some People Prefer Flipping Car Seat Headrests?

Some people prefer flipping car seat headrests forward because of aesthetics, while others do it for the sake of comfort. Some drivers claim they see better when they flip the headrests, while others remove them to make more space in the cargo compartment to fit their stuff.

For the Purposes of Car Aesthetics

Some people flip their car headrests to make it more appealing, as they think the angled-forward look makes them look drab.

White Flipping Car Seat Headrests

Others also remove their headrests to achieve a certain look during photography sessions. Regardless of your reasons for changing the headrests’ positions, know that it’s not safe. Thus, return it to its normal position once you’re ready to drive your vehicle to keep you safe.

Visibility and Driving Maneuvers

Other people also complain that the headrests get in their line of vision; thus, they remove them to give them better visibility. According to them, the headrests block their vision through the rearview mirror, preventing them from seeing activities behind their vehicle.

Driver Looking Back

Others also complain that they are unable to undertake driving maneuvers such as parallel parking. Flipping their headrests allows them to see clearly so they can accurately gauge the distance between their vehicle and obstacles.

Comfort and Space in the Cargo Compartment

Flipping the car seat headrests appears to be more comfortable for some people, especially for short trips. Individuals who sleep in cars also prefer to lay their heads on the headrests’ flatter side than the angled side. This is because the flatter side makes for better sleep and relaxation than the other side.

Also, some passengers in the rear seats turn their headrests backward to make more room to rest their heads. These are some of the reasons why some drivers prefer aftermarket adjustable headrests.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Adjust Car Headrest Angle?

On how to adjust car headrest angle, first locate the adjustment mechanism, which varies depending on the model of the vehicle. Next, either press or turn the mechanism to free the headrest for any movement. Now, alter the headrest angle and release the mechanism.

What Is the Solution to Uncomfortable Headrests?

The solution to uncomfortable headrests is to adjust the angle to suit your height and vision. Also, you can change the seat position to align with the position of the headrest. You can add other items, such as pillows or cushions, to make the headrest more comfortable.

What Is the Proper Position for the Car Seat Headrests?

The proper position for the car seat headrests is as follows: the top of the headrest should match the top of the driver’s ears and should be closer to their ears. Adjust the restraint forward so that it is about 3 inches closer to the head.


In this article, we’ve discovered why car headrest too far forward and discussed why some people like to flip the headrests.

Here is a summary of the major points explained in this article:

  • The reasons why Lexus headrest too far forward are to prevent whiplash, keep the spine properly aligned, reduce fatigue, and increase comfort.
  • Headrests are also angled forward to make up for differences in the height of occupants and to make them more comfortable.
  • The disadvantages of flipping headrests include reduced protection during accidents, pressure on the spine, blocking the driver’s line of sight and suffering neck injuries.
  • Other disadvantages include damaging the headrests, which voids the warranty, and falling short of the law, which forces you to pay a fine or go to jail.
  • Some people flip their car headrests because they feel uncomfortable with the forward angle, want to achieve a certain aesthetic quality, or improve their visibility.

Others turn their car headrests because they want to create space in their cargo compartment to fit their stuff and also to help them sleep comfortably. However, flipping your car seat headrests is dangerous because it could result in serious injuries to your head, neck and spine.

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