Car accident injury prevention - The benefits of air bags
Airbags are exactly what it says on the tin: bags that will inflate with air in the event of a car accident. Frontal airbags for both driver and passenger as well as side airbags are now fitted as standard in most new car models throughout the UK.
Car crash sensors within the vehicle detect a sudden reduction in speed, monitor the direction and severity of the impact and then send a signal to the airbag inflator which fills with gas in less than a second. Most airbags in the UK hold 35 litres of gas propellant and will take no more than 25 milliseconds to fully inflate at a rate of around 160 mph.
Also known as Supplementary Restraint Systems (SRS), airbags are designed to enhance the performance offered by standard three-point seat belts. Therefore an airbag is not an alternative to an airbag and a seat belt should always be worn even if your vehicle is fitted with an airbag for maximum protection in a car accident. Read more about car accidents and seat belts.
What are the benefits of airbags?
Airbags are designed to cushion the body, decreasing its level of contact with unpadded parts of the car's interior and thereby reduce the risk of serious personal injury in the event of a car accident.
Frontal airbags are especially effective at decreasing the risk of serious head injuries, chest injuries and knee injuries that can be sustained when the body is thrown with force against the steering wheel or dashboard.
There are, however, some risks associated with airbags. For example, shorter, lighter drivers may be more prone to airbag injury as they are closer to the steering wheel when the airbag deploys. But they can lessen the risk by making sure that they recline their seat far enough back so that they are not in the airbag's deployment zone (the area in which it inflates).
It has also been questioned whether airbag deployment can contribute to hearing loss however it was concluded that hearing loss of this nature is infrequent and so this concern was unsubstantiated as a significant risk.
When the airbag module fires it and the gas that it generates are very hot. This means that both the driver and their passengers could be susceptible to burn injuries.
However, minor burn injuries and a minute possibility of airbag deployment induced hearing loss may be considered small sacrifices to make seeing as the airbag is likely to protect you from far more significant injuries.
How can these benefits be maximised?
If you have airbags fitted in your car, adhering to the following do's and don'ts could maximise your chances of sustaining serious personal injuries in the event of a car accident:
- Do wear a well-adjusted seat belt.
- Do sit upright and squarely in your seat.
- Do sit back as far as reasonably possible from the steering wheel; reclining the seat may be preferable to moving the seat back for shorter drivers.
- Do tilt your steering wheel downwards so that it points towards your chest rather than your head, if adjustable.
- Do position your hands in either the ten-to-two or quarter-to-three hand positions on the steering wheel to protect the arm from injury as the airbag deploys.
- Do replace your airbag after it has been deployed in a car accident.
- Do replace your unused airbag after 10 years.
- Don't place a rear-ward facing child seat in the front passenger seat if an airbag is fitted.
- Don't use a forward facing child seat in the front passenger seat unless the passenger seat can be positioned so that the child seat is out of the airbags deployment zone.
Making a car accident claim today
If you have sustained a personal injury after being involved in a car accident which was someone else's fault, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.
The Claims Solicitors are personal injury claim specialists and can help you to gain compensation for pain, suffering, lost earnings, medical treatment and ongoing medical care.
We will also arrange for your car to be repaired at a reputable garage and even provide you with a free replacement vehicle while your car is off the road. Read more about what you can claim for.
For free legal advice or to make a car accident claim call 0800 197 32 32 today.