Are Airbags Safe? What You Need to Know
You’re cruising down the freeway, your favorite song on the radio, feeling good about life. In that moment, the last thing on your mind is getting into an accident. But let’s face it, accidents happen when we least expect them. When they do, a split-second event like an airbag deployment could be the difference between walking away and suffering severe injuries. But, have you ever stopped to consider how safe airbags actually are? Let’s dive into this topic and separate facts from myths.
Airbags were introduced in the 1970s as an additional safety measure to seat belts. Airbags are devices that inflate rapidly in the event of a crash. They are designed to cushion the impact of the crash and prevent the driver and passengers from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, or other hard surfaces.
Airbags are made of nylon fabric and are filled with a gas, such as nitrogen or argon. When the airbag sensor detects a crash, it triggers a chemical reaction that causes the gas to rapidly inflate the airbag. When sensors in the car detect a sudden impact, the airbag inflates within milliseconds, providing a protective barrier. This reduces the risk of severe injuries to the head, neck, and chest.
Fact-Check: Airbag Safety
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags saved approximately 50,457 lives between 1987 and 2017. However, it’s essential to pair them with seatbelts. Combining seatbelts with airbags can reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 61% for front-seat passengers.
Still, airbags aren’t without their controversies. Some reports highlight instances of airbag malfunctions, leading to harm. In the rare cases when this happens, it’s usually due to manufacturing defects or incorrect installation.
Are Airbags Safe?
Here are some ways that airbags keep us safe:
Head injuries: Airbags can help to prevent head injuries by cushioning the impact of the crash and preventing the driver or passenger from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, or other hard surfaces.
Spinal cord injuries: Airbags can help to prevent spinal cord injuries by absorbing the force of the crash and preventing the driver or passenger from being thrown forward.
Internal organ injuries: Airbags can help to prevent internal organ injuries by cushioning the impact of the crash and preventing the driver or passenger from being crushed.
Death: Airbags can help to prevent death by reducing the severity of injuries in a crash.
Airbags are generally considered to be safe. They have been credited with saving millions of lives. However, there are some risks associated as well, such as:
Injuries from airbag deployment. In rare cases, airbags can cause injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or broken bones. This is more likely to happen to children, the elderly, and people who are not wearing a seat belt.
Injuries from secondary impacts. When an airbag deploys, it can cause the driver or passenger to be thrown forward. This can lead to secondary impacts, such as hitting the dashboard or steering wheel.
Injuries from fires. In some cases, airbags have been known to ignite fires. This is more likely to happen in older cars that have not been properly maintained.
Airbag Safety Tips for Every Driver
There are a few things you can do to stay safe with airbags:
Always Wear a Seatbelt: Think of airbags as a supplementary safety feature. Your first line of defense is still the seatbelt.
Position Yourself Correctly: Ensure there’s at least a 10-inch gap between your chest and the steering wheel. This distance allows the airbag room to deploy safely.
Child Safety: Children under 13 should always sit in the back seat. Front-seat airbags can be too forceful for young children, potentially causing more harm than good.
Maintenance is Key: Regularly get your vehicle checked. Ensure all safety systems, including airbags, are functioning correctly.
Know Your Rights
Airbags, without a doubt, have been instrumental in saving numerous lives on the road. Yet, as with any safety feature, it’s vital to know their role, benefits, and limitations. Taking simple safety precautions and ensuring your vehicle is in top condition can further their effectiveness.
And remember, if you ever find yourself in a position where an airbag or any other vehicle feature has done more harm than good, seek legal guidance. For those in the White Plains or Westchester area, Glen A. Kurtis, P.C., is here to provide assistance as your trusted personal injury lawyer.
Act now. If you believe you have a case or need guidance following an accident, don’t wait. Connect with a car accident lawyer in White Plains, NY, today to ensure your rights are upheld. Do not hesitate to reach out to me today.