Knowledge About Airbags

Airbags can inflate in a fraction of a second after a serious NJ or PA auto accident occurs, says Bucks County personal injury lawyer, Michael L. Saile, Jr. As a crash happens, airbag sensors measure the severity of the impact, and if the impact is severe enough the airbags will then be inflated with a harmless gas. Nationwide statistics show that airbags reduce the number of car accident fatalities in direct frontal collisions by 30 percent.  Here are some important things to know about airbags and common questions people ask.

  • 1.  If I use my seat belt, do I really need airbags?  People think that just because they wear their seat belt, they do not need any other safety features. However, airbags are effective in helping to prevent serious accident injuries, even with seat belts. The impact of an accident, especially a rear-end accident, thrusts the driver and other passengers in the car forward. It shouldn’t be one or the other when it comes to seat belts or airbags because they actually work in conjunction with one another to keep those in the vehicle as safe as possible. The seat belt protects you from being thrown out of the vehicle, and the airbags prevent you from coming in contact with the hard surfaces of the car’s interior.
  • 2.  When do airbags deploy?   Since airbags are used primarily to prevent serious injury, airbags only deploy when the impact of the Bucks County accident registers at a certain degree, that is when the impact is the equivalent to hitting a solid barrier at 10-12 MPH. However, if the passengers are wearing seat belts, the threshold goes up to about 16 MPH. Side airbags and frontal airbags both work this way.
  • 3.  Can I be injured by an airbag?   What might come as a surprise to some people is that the answer is YES. You are still hitting the airbag at some force of impact, so while you may still suffer a personal injury, it will likely not be nearly as bad as being injured by hitting the dash of your car.  Common injuries from airbags are minor scrapes and abrasions. Children and babies who are in rear-facing car seats should not be placed in the front seat of a car with passener-side arirbags.  As a driver, in order to avoid airbag injury in the event of a PA or NJ accident, move the seat back as far from the steeing wheel as possible while still being able to comfortably reach the pedals. 
  • 4.  If my car is hit on the driver’s side, do all of the side airbags go off?  Usually in this type of Bucks County car accident only the side airbags on the driver’s side will deploy, as well as the side airbags of the seat behind the driver’s seat if your car has one. It is the same if the crash is on the passenger side; only the side airbags on the side of impact will deploy. It could depend on the manufacturer of your car, though. Some manufacturers are changing the way airbags deploy to ensure maximum protection.

A Pennsylvania car accident that causes your airbag to deploy can really shake you up and disorient you; it’s quite an unexpected shock.  These accidents are often the types where the impact is great enough to cause you personal injury, not necessarily from the airbag but from the force of the collision.  Injuries to the neck and back, head, knees, and shoulders are not unusual.  If you’ve been injured in a Mercer County or Bucks County auto accident, contact the PA/NJ injury lawyers of Cordisco & Saile LLC to inquire about a free consultation.  We also offer a FREE PA Car Accident Book, written by a PA personal injury lawyer, which will answer the many important questions you have at this time.  Order your copy now.