srs airbag

Car Airbags 101: How They Work and Different Types Explained

The airbag system is one of the most significant safety features of your vehicle. Proper airbag deployment can help you and your passengers escape an accident that would have otherwise resulted in severe damage or death. 

Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of airbag deployment throughout the years. But how precisely do they function? The airbag system is very complicated, and it must operate within milliseconds of a collision to protect the driver and passengers.

What are Airbags?

Stretchable textiles or other materials are firmly packed in various spots throughout your car to form airbags. Most automobiles have airbags at the front of the dashboard, and many have airbags down the side of the vehicle. 

These bags are compacted and stored in a tiny space. When there is an accident, the airbags immediately inflate to create a cushioning mechanism for passengers so that they don’t turn into a hazardous projectile in the case of a severe accident. While this may not always prevent total damage or death, it can be pretty helpful in cushioning the occupants in a car in many instances.

The Science Behind the Safety

In the case of an accident, an automobile will quickly decelerate. This is hazardous for anybody inside since they will continue to travel at the same speed until they strike anything immobile – generally the dashboard or steering wheel. The seatbelt helps reduce this sudden halt to some level, but it can only do so much, which is where airbags come in.

Simply said, airbags are huge nylon bags neatly folded into a cubby until they are needed. Accelerometers installed throughout the vehicle detect rapid rates of deceleration, indicating an accident. These systems are linked to a tiny explosive device that activates on collision, resulting in a rapid discharge of nitrogen gas. This gas fills the airbag, rapidly inflating it to soften the impact for the occupants of the vehicle. This entire process takes only 400ths of a second.

The Different Types of Airbags

Various airbags are installed throughout the vehicle to protect people in various accident scenarios, including side-impact and rollover incidents.

When most people think about airbags, they typically think of frontal airbags. The truth is that there are several more types, all of which are equally essential.

Curtain Airbags

When inflated, curtain airbags deploy from the roof, lining slightly above the side doors and covering the windows and doors. They are designed to protect occupants from side hits or T-bone collisions. 

Seat-mounted side airbags similarly aim to decrease possible injuries in the event of a side accident. Still, they release from the outside seat cushion and are designed to protect the torso.

Pedestrian Airbags

Pedestrian airbags are placed on the outside of cars to protect pedestrians who are walking. It protects the hard section of the windshield and the A-pillar, where pedestrians often collide with.

Knee Airbags

Knee airbags are installed in the lower portion of the front center console or dashboard and are designed to protect the driver’s (and front passenger’s, if fitted) knees and shins.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Inflatable seat belts are another feature available on select Ford and Mercedes-Benz models. In the case of an accident, this invention inserts an airbag into the rear seatbelts, which helps to tighten and disperse the energy of an impact over a larger area than a conventional seatbelt, lowering the danger of chest and head injuries.

Final Thoughts

Along with the airbags, another crucial component of a vehicle that is often overlooked is the SRS airbag module, which effectively controls the airbag’s deployment. All the crash data and hard codes are stored in this module post-collision. Nothing but an SRS reset or a new module will clear that data. Instead of purchasing a new module, you can opt for an SRS reset instead. 

Safety Restore is the world’s leader in post-accident restorations and specializes in airbag module reset, seat belt repair, and more! Get in touch to know more about our services!

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