All of you are well aware of what airbags are and what they do. They protect the passengers of a car during an accident. The way they work is that when a car is involved in a crash the sensors in a car pick up the pressure of an impact in milliseconds and the airbags are deployed. They are effective only because they deploy in a matter of milliseconds, basically before the passengers crash into the framing of the car.
The use of ‘inflatable restraint’ has been debated since 1950 but it only became compulsory around 1991.
These safety features were a milestone in transport safety but like every invention, there are always drawbacks that we need to keep in mind.
These inflatable restraints came with their own bunch of risk factors that were quite alarming when brought to the attention of the public.
Let’s have a look at them.
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Airbags aren’t designed to get you out of an accident scratchless. An airbag is simply designed to protect your head from colliding with the interior of the car. Basically, it is there to prevent you from facing fatal injuries and does not protect you from other minor ones. You might still come out with a fracture or two.
But there might be some direct risks involved with using airbags too. Basically, some situations arise where the accident itself might not cause as much harm as the airbag.
The way airbags are deployed is quite dangerous even though they do end up saving lives. Suppose an airbag is placed in the steering wheel. When an impact occurs the sensors send a signal to the detonator. The detonator basically explodes which produces Nitrogen gas.
This Nitrogen gas is inflammable and it fills up in the interior of the car after a crash. This can potentially light up any second and cause burns to the passengers. The explosion of the detonator itself can also cause leaked gasoline to ignite, causing explosions.
Talcum powder Residue
Since the airbags need to face zero friction to release as quickly as possible, it is coated with a generous layer of talcum powder. When the airbag is deployed it fills the car with powder residue. The particles suspended in the air can cause some serious respiratory problems. Tests related to the suspended talcum particles in the air have shown that passengers can be exposed to fatal asthma attacks and long-term breathing problems.
The airbags are only effective if they deploy in a matter of milliseconds otherwise they would not be effective at all. The problem with this is that to match with the response time they need to blow up with an explosive force. Mostly it’s the head that the airbag tries to protect so it literally blows up in your face and has huge potential to injure your nose, other parts of the face and different parts of the body. Many have already reported injuries like fractures and bruises due to airbag deployment
Who are the most at risk?
Infants are delicate souls and should never be placed in the front seat of the car without a rear-facing child restraint. Even a small impact can deploy airbags and can injure the child severely. It’s always advisable to make the children sit in the rear seat and if they are infants always use child restraints.
The elderly are almost as vulnerable to airbag injuries as children. There have been numerous cases of the elderly facing severe injuries due to airbag deployment. They are much more susceptible to fractures and other types of injuries than adults and youngsters.
c). Pregnant women
Pregnant women need to take extra care of their womb and the little life inside it. They should never sit on the front seat as the airbags can very easily injure the womb even if the crash is not that intense. Their abdomen, due to pregnancy, is much larger than usual and sits dangerously close to the steering wheel and dashboard. There have been many reports of airbag deployments damaging the womb and the baby inside it.
How to avoid airbag injuries
It might be amusing but there are actually ways to avoid injuries from airbags which are ultimately designed to save you from injuries. There are some airbag solutions that you can try to avoid injuries.
Wear your seatbelt
The airbags are usually placed on the dashboard and the steering wheel. When an impact occurs you are thrown forward towards the airbags and the airbags are deployed towards you. This causes injuries to your face and other body parts. To avoid this all you need to do is wear your seatbelt. It will prevent you from going a lot further towards the front of the car and consequently, your face will not be as close to the airbag. This way the chances of you not getting hit by the airbag are way better.
The driver and passenger seat of a car can be adjusted. A lot of people like to pull the seat all the way to the front and sit very close to the front of the car. This is dangerous when we take airbags into account. If you sit so close to the airbag not even the seatbelt can protect you from the airbag’s impact.
Thus try to sit as far away from the steering wheel and dashboard as you can.
Airbags are made to save our lives and have proved to be very effective. Stats show that when cars with airbags have been involved in an accident, almost 54% of the time the drivers have come out alive because of the airbags. They do have a risk of minor injuries but they also protect us from the fatal ones.