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Airbags save lives

Published on: 18 June 2015

When it comes to vehicle safety, three things are essential – reliable motor insurance, seatbelts that are in working order and functioning airbags. Since they were first installed in vehicles back in the 1970s, airbags have become a compulsory safety feature for all motor cars, saving the lives of countless drivers all over the globe. But how do they work? And, if you are ever involved in an accident where the airbags are deployed, what can you expect? Let’s take a look.

What happens when an airbag deploys?

Airbags are most commonly installed in the dashboard of your vehicle, on the sides of the vehicle, or in the steering wheel itself. Along with the airbag, a number of sensors are also installed. These sensors are likely to be impact sensors, but may also be accelerometers or pressure sensors, all of which detect the state of the vehicle. If they detect that a collision has occurred, the airbags will deploy immediately, filling up with gas for approximately 0.2 – 0.5 seconds before slowly starting to deflate, cushioning you from the impact as a result. Once airbags have been deployed, it is essential that you have them replaced by a qualified mechanic.

Airbags and maintenance

If your airbag has never deployed, is it necessary to replace it after a certain period of time? Is there such a thing as airbag maintenance? Airbags require very little maintenance and are generally made to last for decades; however, it is very important for you to keep an eye on the lights on your dashboard. If you notice that your SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) light remains on, it means that your airbag system may require repairs.

Airbags and child safety

When it comes to airbags and children, the safest thing to do is to insist that your little one rides buckled up in the back seat until he or she is a minimum of twelve years of age.

You should:

  • NEVER place a rear-facing child-safety-seat in the front of the car. The seat is much too close to the airbag and, if deployed, can result in severe injury and even death.
  • NEVER allow children (or adults, for that matter!) of any age to ride in the car without a seatbelt, especially if your vehicle is fitted with side air bags. Seatbelts are essential for passengers whether they are sitting in the front or the back seats.
  • Since 1990, approximately 68 children have been killed by airbags. Of this number, 80% of the children were unbuckled at the time of impact.
  • By ensuring that your car is equipped with functional airbags, and by wearing your seatbelt, you reduce your risk of suffering fatal injuries in an accident by over 60%.
  • Airbags became compulsory car safety features for all new cars in 1998.
  • It is estimated that airbags save up to 3 000 lives each year.

Fast facts about airbags

So, there you have it – everything that you need to know about airbags and car safety. Don’t forget to ensure that you have reliable car insurance on your side. While airbags and seatbelts will save your life in the event of a road accident, car insurance will save you plenty of money and provide you with additional peace of mind. Contact MiWay today for more information.

To read a short history of the airbag, click here.