Manufacturers design airbags to protect vehicle occupants from serious injuries during a collision. However, the force and speed of deployment can have fatal effects if people are not careful.
Optimizing the effect of an airbag requires people to follow manufacturer recommendations. If used properly, an airbag could be the only reason car accident victims survive at all.
A deadly and common misconception of airbags is that they can effectively replace a seatbelt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags deploy in 1/20th of a second after an impact triggers the sensor. Such force can badly injure and even kill people who sit too close to the airbag or who are not big enough to withstand the blow.
All children under the age of 12 should sit in the back seat of a vehicle. People sitting in the front seat should sit at least 10 inches away from an airbag. Drivers should take adequate time to adjust their seat and steering controls to be able to reach everything without having to sit too close to the dashboard.
Similar to other components of a vehicle following an accident, deployed airbags should be promptly replaced. According to State Farm Insurance, people should also watch for airbag malfunctions. Many vehicles have an airbag malfunction indicator lamp. If it remains illuminated for longer than 10 seconds after a vehicle turns on, people should have their airbags serviced immediately.
Recalls on some airbags have happened in the past. People should periodically check for information about airbag recalls making sure the ones they have will work effectively and safely in an accident. When utilized appropriately, airbags can contribute to increased safety for all vehicle occupants.