Most drivers know that airbags are life-saving mechanisms that deploy when you are involved in a crash, but let’s tell you little about how they work. Though they are essential, there are risks associated with these devices. Because of the possibility of injury associated with them (and when not using them), it’s vital to understand exactly how these passive restraint systems operate. This information can mean the difference between collision survival and fatality.
Air Bag Facts
How they work: when a sharp deceleration occurs (like during a crash) an electronic sensor in the car senses it and detonates a charge that inflates the bags. This process happens quickly, in the blink of an eye. At 200 miles per hour, the airbag emerges. The airbags stop drivers and passengers from hitting the dashboard or windshield. Many newer vehicles also have side airbags that offer added protection. Some vehicles even have these in the roof!
Because of this safety feature, crash fatalities have been reduced to just 11%. This number was much higher before airbags were placed in vehicles. As of 2012, airbags had saved over 40,000 lives.
But they have caused injuries as well. Since airbags were placed in all vehicles in 1996, several adults and children have been killed by airbags. Others have suffered serious injuries including arm and chest fractures, neck injuries, as well as head injuries. To reduce the risk of airbag injuries, consider the following suggestions.
Air Bag Safety Tips
- They are supplemental protection devices. They should never be used in place of seat belts. Make sure that the driver and all passengers are buckled in properly at all times. The lap belt should be worn on the hip and the shoulder portion should be positioned across the breastbone but away from the neck.
- Sit back, especially if you’re small or short. Many injuries are caused by drivers and front seat passengers sitting to close to the places where airbags deploy. Move your seat back as far as possible (and comfortable). Keep a 10-inch margin between your chest and the steering wheel. This is especially important for drivers and passengers that are smaller in stature and at greater risk of injury.
- Children should ride in the back. The back seat is the best place for all children, especially those 12 and under. Having young children strapped into an approved car seat/booster in the back seat of a vehicle protects them from injury. Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat where an airbag is installed.
- Watch for faulty airbags. Like other parts of your vehicle, they can malfunction or be faulty due to manufacturer error. This was the case with many Takata air bags that were recalled in 2017. According to the NHTSA, 37 million vehicles have been recalled due to over 50 million faulty air bags that can explode when deployed.
If you’re concerned about a possible recall or need repairs done after a collision in which an airbag did (or didn’t deploy), give us a call at (480-351-2369). Orlando Auto Body technicians can answer all of your collision related concerns and get your vehicle back to like-new condition in no time.