All About Airbags

Since the early days of airbags, vehicle safety enthusiasts have cautioned that airbags are to be used at the same time as seat belts. Seat belts are still required, or at least should be, because airbags used to work only in front-end collisions happening at more than 10 mph. Only seat belts could help in side swipes and crashes (although side-mounted airbags are in many vehicles now), rear-end crashes and secondary impacts. Even as more technological features emerge, airbags still are only effective when used with a seat belt.  Read on to learn more! We hope that this will be an informative article!

Like seat belts, the concept of the airbag–an inflated pillow that serves as protection in an accident–was controversial. This was the case according to Thompson, a Toyota dealer in Edgewood, MD. The point of an airbag is simply to slow the passenger’s forward motion down during an accident.  The process starts with signals from motion sensors.  When one of those sensors detects a big collision-level force, the vehicle’s airbag inflation system gets an electrical pulse from it. Typically, that ignites a charge that creates a warm blast of nitrogen gas to drive the airbag out from its storage site.

It only took a short time to learn that an airbag’s force can hurt those who are too close to it, especially kids. Experts agree that children aged twelve and under need to ride buckled up in an installed, age-appropriate car seat in the vehicle cabin’s rear. In case you were wondering, there are ways to deactivate airbags, and we’ll get to that right now:

You cannot usually deactivate your airbag without getting a retrofit on-off switch. However, if a retrofit on-off switch is not currently available from your car’s manufacturer, the United States government will authorize airbag deactivation in certain situations. It does not hurt to look into it.

A Quick Low-Down on Airbag History

When car manufacturers began putting seatbelt contraptions in vehicles in the 1950s, people were worried about being “trapped” in their vehicles when crashes occurred. Despite early beliefs, however, many states have seatbelt laws today, to make it so that at least people under age 18 must wear them.

Around the same decade that seatbelts came about, airbag device patent applications did. As early as the early 1950s John Hedrick from the United States and Walter Linderer from Germany got patents. Hedrick obtained a patent—U.S Patent #2,649.311–for his “safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles,” while Linderer’s German patent #896312 was for a compressed air unit that was released by either the driver or by bumper contact. It was in 1968 that Allen Breed invented a “sensor and safety system,” the first electron mechanical automotive airbag system on the planet.

In 1971 Ford built an airbag fleet only to experiment. A 1970s Chevrolet automobile had airbags in vehicles sold only for U.S government usage. A couple decades or so later airbags—especially airbags for the front passenger and driver–became mandatory in all passenger cars. Most controversy of the airbag wore away as time passed.

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