Airbags: Most Effective When You Do Your Part

Airbags: Most Effective When
You Do Your Part

 
October 18, 2023
The airbag is one of the most important auto safety innovations in recent history. Understanding how it works and how your behavior can affect it is essential to ensure it works as it should.
Typically, a front airbag won't inflate if you're hit from the rear or you roll over.
KNOW YOUR ROLE
While an airbag is designed to keep you safer in a collision, your actions can impact how well it works.

Recommendations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) include:
  • While driving or sitting in the front passenger seat, always sit in the center of the seat in an upright position. Keep your back against the seatback and both feet on the floor.
  • Sit far enough away from the steering wheel so that your chest is at least 10 inches from the center. If you need to position the seat far forward because of your height, you should recline the seat back slightly to maintain enough distance from the steering wheel.
  • Don’t rest your arms or legs against the airbag compartment. If the airbag deploys in a crash, the force of the deployment and the heat of the gases emitted by the bag could cause injury if you’re resting any part of your body against the compartment.
  • Maintain the proper hand position on the steering wheel. Many motorists hold the wheel at the “10 and 2” position (where the numerals 10 and 2 appear on a clock), but this places your hands in a vulnerable position and at greater risk of injury if the airbag deploys. The “9 and 3” position is a safer choice.
STATS ON AIRBAG EFFECTIVENESS
According to IIHS, in frontal crashes front airbags reduce fatalities
  • by 29% for drivers
  • and by 32% for front-seat passengers age 13 and older
In a crash impacting the driver’s side door, side airbags reduce the risk of death
  • for drivers of passenger cars by 37%
  • and for drivers of SUVs by 52%
Front airbags have been required in all new passenger vehicles in the U.S. since the 1999 model year.
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