Safety measures for vehicles have improved significantly since the late 19th century when the first gas-powered vehicles start to wobble down dirt roads. The airbag is among the most significant vehicle safety developments. Since airbags were first patented in 1951, they have been installed in near vehicle that is able to hold one. Everyone knows about them, but it seems as though many individuals take for granted their effectiveness. We trust that the airbag will keep us safe and don’t think about what they actually do or how complex they are. If you are in this article, I will be discussing these points and try to debunk some of the common misunderstandings.
Hitting An Airbag Is Like Landing On A Pillow
One common misconception that many drivers have is that an airbag is basically a cushion that you feel during a collision. Although it is understandable why people think that, unfortunately, it isn’t true. When an airbag is hit is definitely softer compared to hitting a steering wheel or dashboard, but the explosive inflation feels more like a punch instead of a pillow. What happens during a frontal collision is the vehicles stop moving, but the occupants inside of the car continue to go forward. If there is nothing in their way, then the individuals in the front seats will end up striking the steering wheel or dashboard of the car, which when hit at a high speed are not very forgiving surfaces. In a worst case scenario, some might even be ejected through the windshield of the car. In order to counteract, airbags must use explosive force to inflate in order to create a large surface area for catching the driver. That has to be achieved in a couple hundredths of a second.
Airbags and Commercial Truck Injuries
Anything that moves fast enough while colliding with a human body – a baseball, a bullet, or anything – can injure it. It is no different from an airbag being deployed. Bodily flying into a blood that explodes forcefully outward at you will feel kind of like being shot by a pillow that was fired by a bazooka. Bruises, fractured ribs, and broken noses are very common in accidents where airbags were deployed. Although that might sound grim, anyone who was injured in that way still prefers that instead of the alternatives. There is less risk of there being deployment-related injuries with modern airbag systems compared to ones in the past. However, they still are more complicated than they appear. If anything happens to go wrong while they are being deployed, they could be very dangerous or rendered useless. If you are ever injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you should contact a Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer right away.
They Are Not Failure-Proof Either
Some people might think an airbag is simple. How complex could a balloon be after all? For party clowns the answer might be “not very,” however more is involved with an airbag. There are several things that need to occur very precisely within 30 to 40 milliseconds of the airbag deploying. Sensors have to communicate data from the collision (direction, speed) to each other. The Electronic Control Unit (or ECU) has to trigger the detonation of the bag inflator. The actual bag will need to completely inflate within one heartbeat of time. This process requires there to be split-second interactions in between electrical elements, electronics, and also explosive materials. The difference between living and dying can sometimes be as brief as .07 seconds. If the sensor on an airbag is slow in relaying a signal over to the ECU, triggers late, or it isn’t calibrated properly, that split second may be enough time to cause serious damage. It is possible, even if rare, for shorts in electrical relays or software bugs to cause these delays. Although damage to electric systems may occur at times from regular wear and tear, manufacturer negligence is often the cause of faulty electronics. Going over a couple of bumps doesn’t account for serious malfunctions.
Don’t Take Your Airbag For Granted
It might appear that I am claiming that airbags do more damage than good. That isn’t the impression that I’m trying to convey. In most cases, airbags do deploy correctly and save lives that could have been cut short otherwise. I am just saying that the technology is not perfect. If the massive Takata recall campaign has taught us anything, it is we need to be responsible for our safety rather than just trusting we will be rescued from our own mistakes by safety measures.