Q: How do airbags work?

asked by on December 15, 2015

How do airbags work?

Airbags play a big role in keeping vehicle occupants safe in the event of a crash. They way in which they work is simple, yet the process has been fine-tuned over the years to offer as much protection as possible. Here’s how they work:

  1. When the vehicle senses a sufficient impact to the front or sides of a vehicle, a pressurized inflator fills the bag with gas in the blink of an eye. Some vehicles are equipped with dual-stage airbags. These can deploy in 2 different ways depending on the severity of the crash.

  2. The airbag pushes the interior panels blocking it aside. For the driver, the airbag pops out of the steering wheel. The panels are designed to not obstruct the airbags when deploying.

  3. The airbag inflates to its full size and provides a inflated bag for the occupant to impact in a crash. This is a huge improvement over simply hitting the steering wheel or dashboard in a crash. The airbag spreads out the force of the impact.

Tip

Do not rely on the airbags alone to protect you in a crash. They are designed around the fact that the occupant will be strapped into their seat when the airbag deploys.

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