The idea of airbags has been around for awhile now. An airbag is essentially an inflatable bag of air that cushions the impact of an individual when involved in a crash. While seatbelts were formally the only form of passive restraint in vehicles for years, since 1998 all vehicles must be installed with an airbag safety device as well. Each vehicle that is sold in the United States must have an airbag on both the passenger and driver’s sides. There are some vehicles that are even equipped by with side door and seat mounted airbags as well.
How an Airbag Works
The purpose of an airbag is to slow the driver or passenger’s forward motion in an even manner, all within the fraction of a second. The airbag has three components that help accomplish this.
The first component is the bag itself. This bag is typically made out of a very thin nylon material. This bag is folded into either the steering wheel or the dashboard of the vehicle. The more recent technology has allowed the bag to be folded into the side doors and even the backs of the seat.
The second component is the sensor. The sensor is what tells the bag when it needs to inflate. Airbags are designed to inflate when there is a force that is equal to running into a wall at around 10 to 15 miles an hour. When this force is detected a switch is flipped that will close an electrical contact to tell the sensor that an impact has occurred. The information is received by an accelerometer that is inside a microchip of the sensor.
The inflation system is the third component of the system. It uses sodium azide and potassium nitrate combined to produce a nitrogen gas. This nitrogen is what inflates the airbag. This whole process takes less than 1/25th of a second to complete.
When the airbag is inflated a white powdery substance appears this is usually cornstarch or talcum powder, which is used to help keep the bags pliable when they are in storage.
Since the installation of airbags, experts have stated that they are to be used in addition to wearing a seatbelt. This is because an airbag will only work in a head on collision and will not inflate when a side swipe or other type of collision occurs.
The other issue that has come up with the use of airbags is that the actual force of the inflation can cause injury if the individual is too close to it. It was found that the risk zone for injury from an airbag is within 2-3 inches of the inflation. The recommended distance to sit away from the airbag is 10 inches. You should measure this distance from the center of the steering wheel to your breastbone and adjust your driving position accordingly.
For children, the rules are different as an airbag can seriously injure a child and it is recommended that children under the age of 12 should not sit in a passenger seat where an airbag is engaged.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website or the web site linked here in are not a substitute for professional medical or legal advice, diagnosis or treatment. In addition, viewing the content on these websites, requesting additional information, or transmitting information through a contact form does not form an attorney-client relationship with the sponsoring attorney. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case or scientific study and do not represent a promise or guaranty regarding similar outcome or causes. The information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and should never interfere with a patient/site visitor and his or her healthcare provider. Internet subscribers or online readers should not act upon any information contained herein without seeking professional legal and/or medical advice. This firm is licensed to practice law only in the state of California, but is affiliated with a network of licensed attorneys in other states. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. PersonalInjury.org and JD Law Group make no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy, reliability, completeness, currentness, or timeliness of the content, text or graphics. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
This article is brought to you by the Laguna Niguel car accident attorneys at JD Law Group. You can contact them directly by calling 1-888-736-4248.
This article is brought to you by the Escondido car accident attorneys at JD Law Group have settled millions of dollars worth of accident claims and can refer you to the highest rated car accident firms anywhere in the United States in order to maximize your settlement. Call them today at 1-888-736- 4248 for a free consultation.