Airbags are devices that are installed inside cars to help reduce the likelihood and severity of injury in an accident. Despite playing an extremely crucial role in our vehicles though, they are also among the least understood and least recognized features. Perhaps that is because we can’t see them most of the time, or perhaps it is because we don’t like to think about the possibility of crashing!
Whatever the case, this is not a case where “not thinking” about the problem is going to help. Rather, it is extremely important to engage with this issue, such that you can understand how best to ensure your safety.
Questions such as when and how to replace an airbag, and just how safe you are traveling at different speeds, are crucial considerations that no one can afford to ignore.
In this post, you will learn everything that you need to know about airbags and how to ensure they are keeping you safe.
Airbags essentially work to ensure you do not hit your head on the hardest parts of the car. This includes the dashboard, the glass windows, and the steering wheel. They are just one example of an installation that has been included in automobiles to ensure your safety.
What’s important to keep in mind, is that airbags do not mean there is no chance of injury. Impacting with an airbag at speed can still cause whiplash and other issues, and it can still even lead to concussion and head trauma.
For these reasons, having an airbag installed does not mean you can afford to drive any less safely! Airbags also only work fully when they are combined with other safety measures of your vehicle. These include the seatbelt which should help to slow your forward momentum. What’s also important to keep in mind, is that airbags will typically only deploy in the most violent of crashes. As a general rule, if the airbags are released, this will normally suggest that your car is also written off and unsalvageable.
When your airbag goes off, you might smell smoke. This doesn’t mean that there is a fire: the smoky smell can actually be released by the airbags themselves. That said, it is always important to exit your vehicle swiftly following a serious accident.
Most vehicles will include at least two airbags at the front of the car. Make sure that you have these installed and that they are working fully.
Airbags should be checked regularly by professionals who know what to look for to ensure they are functioning properly. It is also important that you consider this when using a rented vehicle.
What is particularly important, is that you check your vehicle’s airbags following a crash. This is important even if the airbags did not deploy. Apart from anything else, you want to find out why they didn’t deploy. Was the impact simply not great enough, or are the airbags jammed?
Finally, understanding how an airbag works and what triggers it can be useful too. Essentially, it is the kinetic (movement) energy that will cause an airbag to release. When driving a vehicle, there will always be some momentum and motion. However, when the object stops moving, this kinetic energy needs to go somewhere.
This energy is dissipated in a number of ways: the sound of the breaks, the smell of burning rubber as the tires move across the tarmac, and of course the movement of everything inside the car. Cars are also built with special crumple zones. These are designed to absorb impacts while minimizing the amount of energy transfer inside the vehicle. These are important safety features.
Finally, though, some of that momentum is also detected by the airbag. Airbags include special sensors called “accelerometers” which detect sudden changes in kinetic energy. If the bag detects a very sudden deceleration above a preset level, then this will result in a tiny explosion. That explosion uses a heating element and a small chemical preparation. This releases large amounts of inert gas, which causes the nylon bag to suddenly expand.
The technology is simple, so look after it, and it will look after you!
At Great Plains Auto Body shop Omaha and Council Bluffs, we’re committed to giving you an unmatched level of service. As a company that’s been family-owned and operated for more than 26 years, we’re dedicated to treating our customers as we would treat members of our own family. We’ll keep you informed throughout the entire repair process and make sure you’re satisfied when the job is complete. From estimating and detailing to collision repair and paint services, our ASE-certified mechanics and technicians make sure the job is done right and on time.