What Conditions Must be Met for Airbags to Deploy?

Posted by Artem Martynyuk on

Driving makes getting travel more convenient. And while the chances of getting into an accident are slim, they aren’t a total zero. That is why the airbag was invented. The airbag activates when you run into a significant collision. It minimizes the impact, keeping your body safe from impact against the vehicle’s interior, such as the steering wheel. To understand what can trigger airbag deployment, you must first know how they work.  

How Do Airbags Work?

1 - The Airbag Control Unit

The Airbag Control Unit or ACU is the little device that controls the airbag through impact calculation and chemical mixtures. It contains the whole system, which determines the most appropriate time to deploy the airbag. It does so by analyzing impact information from pressure sensors, accelerometers, brake sensors, wheel speed, and more. To do that, your vehicle needs the ACU initiator.

2 - The ACU Initiator

This part of your car is responsible for starting the gas generator. When the electrical conductor senses enough heat, it ignites a material that wraps around and lets gas into the airbag. When the sensors reach a threshold, this prepares the ACU to launch and minimize the impact.

What is the Safety Coverage?

The airbag isn’t just meant to protect the driver. Car manufacturers make sure that the airbag is in other parts of the car as well, to protect the other passengers. The airbag usually goes off sixty milliseconds after the first contact. The reaction time has to be quick, especially in collisions that come out of nowhere. 

If it were any faster, it could block the driver’s vision, impeding their ability to minimize the collision’s force. But any slower can lead to some severe injuries, as the force of the deployment could hit someone square in the face. That is why airbags go under a series of lab tests to determine if they deploy at the right time. 

What are the Conditions that Lead to Airbag Deployment?

People often wonder what causes airbags to deploy. To debunk any suspicion that they can go off at any time, you need to understand how the sensors work. A small circuit called the MEMS accelerometer is integrated into the mechanical elements in the airbag system. They detect impending danger and immediately alert the system, causing the ACU to deploy the airbag. In the US, fourteen miles per hour is the minimum speed of airbag deployment

Are Airbags Safe?

Airbags were invented to save lives. However, they aren’t the only thing that you need in your car to be safe. Airbags work alongside seatbelts to protect you in the event of a crash. Besides having a working airbag, you also have to wear your seatbelt at all times.


The myth that any impact can trigger an airbag stems from comedy sketches in the media, which may be funny but are far from the truth. The conditions to activate it are a lot more complex nowadays. Experts recognize that real-life collisions are different from lab tests, so they don’t focus solely on improving airbag deployment. That is why, for your own safety, you should keep your seatbelts on even with a working airbag. 

Are you looking for an SRS airbag module reset for your car? Safety is first at Repair My SRS, an accident restoration service that can do the job for you in no time. We provide a range of repair services nationwide and guarantee a twenty-four-hour turnaround period. Send in your parts to us today!

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