FAQ's: Your Questions Answered
What’s the purpose of an airbag and why do airbag malfunctions happen?
An Airbag itself is simply one component of a three-part system designed to protect passengers in the case of a collision. This system includes an airbag module, a crash sensor, and a diagnostic unit. Some cars are equipped with an on/off switch as well.
What is an Airbag?
The airbag also referred to as the airbag module, is comprised of lightweight fabric and an inflator module. It’s stored in either the instrument panel of the dashboard or more commonly, in the pad of the steering wheel. The distance between the occupant and the housing space of the airbag determines its size. The driver side airbag is quite a bit smaller because the distance between the driver and housing is shorter.
How do Airbags Work?
Crash sensors determine when airbags are deployed. They are usually located in the bumper or the vehicle’s grille, but sometimes the crash sensors are located in the dashboard or passenger compartment. Vehicles can have single sensors or multiple sensors. Contrary to popular belief, the sensor is not activated by the impact but instead is triggered by rapid deceleration. As a result, sensors do not activate at the same rate at all speeds and in all crashes. Normal braking or driving on rough terrain should not cause enough deceleration to trigger sensors to activate the system.
The final component of the system is the Diagnostic Unit, the component responsible for monitoring the status of the airbag system. The diagnostic system is activated when the vehicle’s ignition is turned on. It identifies functioning problems within the system, alerting the driver when necessary. The Diagnostic Unit can function on stored electrical energy in the event that the car battery is destroyed in a crash.
Functions of an Airbag During an Auto Collision
The airbag executes two primary functions in the event that rapid deceleration takes place. First, the bag provides a soft cushion between the passenger/driver and any hard surfaces within the vehicle. The second function of the bag is to diffuse the energy of the crash across a wider area. Rapid deceleration sends a message to the deceleration sensor which triggers the airbag inflation. It deflates within seconds. A front end collision with a stationary/immovable object at 10-15 mph will trigger inflation, activate a mechanical switch, close an electrical contact and signal to the sensors that an accident has occurred. The mixture of potassium nitrate and sodium azide within the inflation system combine to create nitrogen gas. This causes the airbag to inflate at speeds up to 200 mph.
When an airbag operates properly, it drastically reduces the frequency and severity of injuries in an automobile accident. Wearing a seatbelt enhances the effectiveness of an airbag. Unfortunately, there are thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths each year as a result of faulty airbag designs and manufacturing defects.
Auto Accident Attorney in Florida
Innovative thinkers work to make airbags safer, but an airbag malfunction still poses a threat to injury or death. If you or a loved one are injured as a result of an airbag malfunction or another defective product, call us today so we can help you file a claim. Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys will make sure you are compensated for your injury and loss.
Call Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys today at 800-257-1822 for a free consultation with an expert auto collision attorney.