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How Airbags Protect Motorists and Thier Passengers During an Accident

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On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

How Airbags Protect Motorists and Thier Passengers During an Accident

Everyone knows that the primary function of automotive airbags is to protect the driver and his/her passengers in the unfortunate event that an accident occurs. But how, exactly, do airbags protect you in an accident and why are they so important when safety ratings are performed?  

During a moderate to severe impact the front airbags are deployed within a fraction of a second and they protect the driver and passengers from being thrown into contact with the car’s interior.

It is important to wear a seat belt; if an occupant is not wearing a seat belt during an accident, there is a much higher probability of severe injury or even death as a result of sitting too close to the airbag, which can be deployed at 200 mph. Driver and front passenger seats should be moved as far back as possible, particularly for shorter people, to prevent being too close to the airbag in case it is deployed in an accident.

Front airbags will not protect motorists involved in side impact, rollover accidents, or rear end collisions, therefore, the automotive industry has stepped it up a notch to provide even more security in auto accidents involving other possible types of collisions.

Side air bags, also known as SABs, are designed to protect the head and chest from hitting the car’s interior during a high impact side-impact crash. SABs were introduced in 1998 but did not become widely used until recently. There is not currently a government standard requirement for side airbags, but they do dramatically increase the safety ratings on a vehicle. High impact side collisions have some of the highest fatality rates of all motor vehicle accidents.

In 1998 the seat-mounted curtain airbag, developed to protect both front and rear passengers, later deployed from the roof. Roll-sensing side curtain airbags were implemented for vehicles more prone to rollovers, such as SUVs.

Curtain airbags are estimated to reduce brain injury and fatalities by up to 45% in a side impact with an SUV. These airbags come in tubular, curtain, and door-mounted forms depending on the type of vehicle and risk that is the highest. Rear curtain airbags, to protect against rear-end collisions, and knee airbags are two other more recent varieties that have been developed to increase the overall safety ratings of an automobile.

Airbags have been proven to save lives; they function properly when everyone is buckled in and children are in the back. Children riding in the front seat could possibly be killed if the airbag is deployed; be sure you have a feature on your car to disable front passenger airbags if, for some reason, a child has to ride in the front seat, such as in the cab of a truck. Preferably all children under the age of 12 should ride buckled up in the back seat and infants should also ride in the back, as well, in rear-facing child safety seats.

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