Stephen R. Hasner
Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
February 7, 2023

Have you ever thought about how many safety features there are in the average vehicle? Components and capabilities like seat belts, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking are included in modern vehicles to keep drivers safe in the event of an accident.

Airbags are one of the most important safety features in modern vehicles. If you’re in an accident, an airbag will keep you from making contact with the interior of the vehicle, including any of the following areas:

  • Windows
  • Dashboard
  • Steering wheel
  • Doors

An airbag can save your life by protecting your body from colliding with any of these parts. According to estimates from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags saved 50,457 lives from 1987 to 2017.

How serious does a collision need to be for an airbag to deploy?

Airbags: Basic Functionality

Airbags work in tandem with your vehicle’s other safety features to protect you during a crash. They perform most optimally with seat belts — as such, they’re usually located on the front and sides of the vehicle’s interior.

Vehicle safety standards mandate the inclusion of a frontal airbag in every vehicle. Your vehicle is likely equipped with an electronic control system that relays information to the airbag telling it when to deploy.

Airbags are designed to deploy in the event of a severe impact. In this case, “severe” means that the impact involves forces roughly equivalent to those of a vehicle colliding with a solid wall at 10–16 miles per hour, though these forces can vary greatly depending on the position of the sensor and the speed at which the vehicle is traveling.

However, an airbag could deploy during a minor accident if your vehicle is hit in the right place.

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you might also have side airbags, which are intended to protect the head and chest. Side airbags deploy even faster than frontal airbags and don’t always require a great amount of force to activate.

Airbag Safety

The goal of any airbag is to expand as quickly as possible to protect the vehicle’s occupants from harm. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to manually control when they’ll deploy during a collision.

With that being said, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure that you remain safe if your airbags do deploy.

Be Aware That Airbags Only Deploy Once

Airbags can only inflate once before they’re useless. If you’re in an accident that results in your airbags being activated, you’ll need to have them replaced by a certified expert.

Wear a Seat Belt

If you get into an accident that causes your airbags to deploy and you aren’t wearing a seat belt, the impact of the crash will throw your body around. Combined with the force of the airbag, this could result in extensive injuries.

However, if you’re wearing a seat belt, the airbag can deploy as usual, and you’ll be restrained by the belt and protected from the brunt of the force. 

Put Your Kids in the Backseat

If you have a child under 13 years old in the vehicle, place them in the backseat and secure them using a restraint system designed for their size. 

The side airbags should be enough to protect them in the event that you get into an accident. If you have questions about how to safely restrain your child, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Maintain an Appropriate Distance

Many drivers sit too close to the steering wheel, which can contribute to serious injury when accidents occur. It’s recommended that you keep at least 10 inches of space between yourself and the steering wheel to give the airbag enough room to deploy.

Knowledge Is Protection

It’s a well-documented fact that airbags save lives. Having a better understanding of how yours work can allow you to drive more confidently, knowing that collisions don’t have to have disastrous consequences.

Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help

For more information, please contact the Atlanta car accident law firm of Hasner Law P.C. at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas:

Hasner Law PC – Atlanta Law Office
2839 Paces Ferry Rd SE #1050
Atlanta, GA 30339
(678) 888-4878

Hasner Law PC – Savannah Law Office
221 W York St
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 234-2334

Author Stephen Headshot
Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
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Stephen Hasner is the founder and managing partner of Hasner Law PC. Since being licensed in Florida in 1997 and in Georgia in 1999, Stephen has worked tirelessly to help Georgia residents navigate the legal process following a serious injury. This includes injuries sustained at work, in motor vehicle accidents, and in cases of personal injury. The team at Hasner Law is dedicated to securing compensation for their clients who have been injured through no fault of their own.