Airbags were first introduced back in 1969 as air pillows, and it literally revolutionised car safety. When the collision occurs, the vehicle suddenly stops. At the same time, driver and passengers keep on moving until something stops them, usually windscreen or steering wheel. This impact can cause serious injuries such as neck strain, pneumothorax, and head trauma, and can have even fatal outcome. Airbags can prevent much of this by lowering and spreading the impact on the larger area of the body, and that’s quite remarkable.
But How do They Work?
Airbags have a built-in accelerometer that sends information to the computer when a vehicle suddenly stops. This makes airbags “explode” and inflate enabling them to absorb the impact and prevent neck, head, and thorax trauma. There is some chemistry involved in the process as well – sensors send signals to a canister filled with sodium azide that inflates the airbags by filling them with nitrogen gas. The entire process is completed within 0.03 seconds.
Even though designed to save lives, in case of malfunction, airbags can cause an injury. There are several reported cases where airbags canister exploded and caused severe injuries and even a fatal outcome! Three most common airbag malfunctions include:
- Suffocation—this happens if the airbag inflates with a great amount of pressure and the driver is sitting too close to the wheel.
- Face trauma—occurs when the steering wheel is tilted towards driver’s face instead of his chest.
- Child injury—happens when a child is seated in the front seat. In this case, airbag can cause suffocation. The same goes for pregnant passengers, and it’s even advised to turn off the airbag function when a pregnant woman sits in the front seat.
If you want your airbags to work properly, make sure that the windscreen on your car is not damaged. A cracked windscreen can even make the airbag inflate away from you! Needless to say that damaged windscreen will not support the roof of the car as it should. If you care for your safety, always make sure that “the fantastic trio” (windscreen, seat belts, and airbags) are not damaged.
How to Check if Your Airbag is Safe?
In most cars today you can run the airbag diagnostic test that checks whether the system works properly. After you have run a diagnostic test, make sure to reset the airbag light. This is a tricky task, and it is better to ask for professional help.
Airbags are essential when it comes to safety. Along with seat belts, they help prevent potentially fatal injuries such as pneumothorax, head trauma, and neck strain. So, make sure that they work properly and at the same time – avoid any DIY urges you might feel and always consult a professional.
Novus Auto Glass are the windscreen repair experts. Specialising in windscreen fixing, windscreen replacements, glass restoration and other services, Novus can help you get back on the road. Call 13 22 34 to bring Novus to your door.