The very first reliable airbag, with sensors for deployment, was created by Allen Breed in 1967. It was designed for the aerospace industry and was used in airplane seat belts. The first automotive airbag hit the market in 1971, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw it become standard vehicle equipment. The government mandated that every car have a driver's side airbag or automatic seat belts before hitting the roads nationwide.
When it was first introduced, up until now, many consumers had a heap of concerns about airbag safety. A number of myths about airbags have been circulating on the internet and even among experts in the field.
We've gathered five of the most common misconceptions we hear in our discussions with drivers and debunked them using items we carry on our site.
Myth #1: Airbags Are Not Responsive
It was once believed that airbags were not responsive when someone was in the seat. It was a common misconception that the sensors were not sensitive enough to respond to a driver's or passenger’s weight. These sensors can detect a wide range of weight—from 80 to 320 pounds.
When it comes to the response time of an airbag, the sensors do their work in less than fifty milliseconds, which is much faster than the blink of an eye because it is less than a third of the time it takes to blink normally.
Myth #2: Airbags Are the Most Important Safety Device
It is integral that you know the risks in driving with or without an airbag when it comes to safety. An airbag is one of the many safety devices in a vehicle. Every car is equipped with a variety of airbags, each of which works with different sensors.
The most vital safety device on your vehicle is the seat belt. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that seat belts are the single most effective method that reduces the risk of death in a crash. However, having an airbag and seat belt together during a collision is the best way to reduce the risk of death by almost 60 percent.
Myth #3: You Can’t Fix a Non-Functioning Airbag
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are only two conditions in which an airbag will automatically deploy. First, if a person is sitting in the vehicle (either occupied or unoccupied). Second, if the car was involved in a collision and the bag is designed to deploy in that situation.
In both cases, the airbag will not function if the vehicle has been involved in a collision, but no one is in it. In addition, the airbag will not work if there is a child seat or child passenger in the car, as long as the child seat has been installed properly.
Myth #4: Children Are Safer on the Side Where Airbags Are Deployed
A common belief about airbags is that it is the safest place for a child to sit in a vehicle. This misconception comes from the fact that it is more convenient to put a child in the front seat so that the adult can keep an eye on them. However, it is dangerous for a child to be in the front seat when an airbag activates.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 54 percent of fatalities in frontal crashes happen to children under the age of twelve in the front or passenger seat. The best place for a child to sit in a vehicle is in the back seat, buckled up in an age-appropriate safety seat.
Myth #5: All Vehicles Have a Smart Airbag Deployment System
Vehicle technology continues to evolve, and it is very common for cars to have a smart airbag deployment system. It includes safety features like automatic braking, steering, and lane control.
Standard equipment in many of today’s vehicles involves auto braking, a rear camera, and sensors that activate the airbag and seat belt. While technology continues to evolve, many factors affect smart airbags, such as weather, roadway, vehicle speed, and other vehicles.
When it comes to airbag safety, it’s crucial to know the facts. We hope that you have found these myths "finally" debunked!
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