An airbag is a vehicle safety device designed to inflate and deflate quickly during a collision. Modern vehicles might contain up to 10 airbag modules. The bags are typically found behind the steering wheel and passenger-side dash.
Frontal airbags saved 50,457 lives between the years 1987 and 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Vehicles can have both front and side airbags. Since 1998, front airbags have been the standard in passenger cars. They became either standard in SUVs, vans, and trucks in 1999. Side airbags are either standard or optional in many passenger vehicles today.
Both frontal and side airbags have various benefits for drivers and passengers in the event of a crash.
How Airbags Work
Airbags have a sensor that detects the vehicle’s speed. They are designed to inflate as soon as the vehicle decelerates faster than regular breaking speeds, as it does during an accident.
The vehicle’s deceleration triggers a circuit that ignites a chemical explosive. When the explosive is ignited, a lot of gas rushes into a nylon bag that is found behind the driver’s steering wheel or the passenger-side dash. The bag inflates within 1/20 of a second. Side airbags inflate even faster, as there is less space between the striking object and the driver or passenger.
Once the driver or passenger’s head comes into contact with the airbag, it deflates. The airbag must deflate so the person’s head doesn’t bounce off it and increase the risk of a whiplash injury. An airbag cannot be reused after it has been deployed, and the vehicle must be taken to an authorized service technician for airbag replacement.
Benefits of Vehicle Airbags
Both front and side airbags are meant to deploy in moderate to severe accidents. They are not intended to go off during all crashes, although they can sometimes deploy in minor collisions.
When airbags deploy effectively, they reduce the chance that a person’s head or upper body will collide with the inside of the vehicle. However, airbags are meant to be supplemental protection alongside seatbelts. Drivers and passengers are best protected when the two are used together.
Reducing Airbag Injuries
Using a seatbelt and being properly seated will avoid the risk of airbag-related injuries, which can be serious or even fatal if the person is to close to the airbag. The NHTSA recommends at least 10-inches between the driver or passenger and the airbag cover. (The cover is found in the center of the steering wheel and on the dashboard in front of the right passenger.)
Drivers and front passengers should also maintain a proper seating position and keep their seats as far back as possible.
Airbags today are more advanced and offer better protection for drivers and passengers. They contain sensors that better determine when and how much to deploy. However, it’s still important for everyone to sit properly and wear their seatbelts while driving or traveling.
Injured in a Vehicle Collision? We Can Help
Although airbags have saved countless lives, they are not infallible. Vehicle accidents still occur, resulting in serious injuries and even death. Defective or counterfeit airbags can also malfunction and leave accident victims vulnerable to severe injuries. In either situation, drivers or vehicle manufacturers may be negligent in accident injuries.
If you were injured in a vehicle accident that was not your fault, you should not have to pay for the costs. John Foy & Associates can help you seek full compensation for your damages. Contact us today for a FREE consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.