DVG Motoring Tip – Airbag Safety
There is a grave risk of injury if the driver or passenger is seated too close to the airbag.
- It is recommended that there is a gap of at least 25cm between the occupant’s chest and the airbag.
- It is important to have the seat adjusted correctly.
- Rearward facing child seats should not be fitted in the front of a vehicle with a passenger airbag.
- If it is necessary to carry children in the front passenger seat, ensure that the child is adequately restrained, facing forward and that the seat is as far back as possible.
- It is always extremely dangerous to carry a child on your knee in the front passenger seat. If a passenger airbag is fitted the force of the deployment can only add to the serious injury the child will suffer in a crash.
- Never drive with your hands on the centre of the steering wheel if an airbag is fitted. Serious injury can be caused to the hands if the bag is deployed.
- Do not attach any items to the airbag cover, notepad holders, magnets and travel clocks can become projectiles when the bag deploys.
Airbags and Bullbars
All modern cars have crumple zones designed into the chassis, which compress in a crash to absorb some of the impact.
- Bullbars can alter the way in which the front of the vehicle crumples and can cause the airbag to deploy at the wrong time.
- Only fit bullbars that are recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer as being safe to use with airbags.
- Some after-market bullbar manufacturers have designed products that do not effect the airbag system.
How do they work?
The main components of the airbag system are:
- Electronic crash sensor module (ECS).
If the vehicle is involved in a severe frontal collision, the ECS determines the rate of deceleration of the vehicle and if satisfied that the airbag needs to be deployed will send an electric signal to the inflator.
- When this signal is received the igniter, which is part of the inflator, ignites a chemical which generates the nitrogen inflator gas.
- This inflates the bag and then dissipates through bleed holes in the bag.
- All this occurs in less than a blink of the eye.
- Some cars have more than one sensor and need at least two of these sensors to detect an impact before the bag is deployed.
- The decision to deploy is determined by both the severity, direction and type of impact. It is possible that the lower end passenger airbag would not deploy in a rollover or impact at low speed.
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