Airbags and How They Function

Airbags serve a critical function by safeguarding your head, neck, and chest against forceful impact with the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield during frontal collisions. It’s important to note that they are not intended to deploy during rear-end collisions, rollovers, or most side-impact crashes.

Typically, airbags are engineered to activate in accidents equivalent to a vehicle colliding into a solid wall at speeds ranging from 8 to 14 miles per hour. Airbags most commonly engage when a vehicle collides with another vehicle or encounters a solid object, such as a tree.

Activation of airbags occurs when a sensor detects a frontal collision. This sensor initiates an electric signal that triggers a chemical reaction, resulting in the inflation of the airbag using harmless nitrogen gas.

Airbags are designed with vents, allowing them to deflate immediately after absorbing impact. This prevents them from smothering occupants or restricting their movement. The “smoke” observed in a vehicle following an airbag deployment demonstration is actually nontoxic starch or talc, used for lubrication.

What can cause an Airbag Injury to occur?

Crucially, the common factor among those who tragically perished is not their height, weight, gender, or age. Instead, it is their proximity to the airbag when it is deployed. Some were too close because of their seating position, while more frequently, individuals were unrestrained by seat belts or child safety seats and were propelled forward during pre-crash braking.

Adopting simple behavioral adjustments can reduce the risk of severe airbag injuries. Shorter drivers can modify their seating positions, while front-seat adult passengers can position themselves at a safe distance from the airbag. In rare cases where these adjustments are not feasible, individuals may benefit from the option to deactivate their airbags when necessary.

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