A Closer Look at Airbags

June 26th, 2014 by

MY14_150AAirbags have helped reduce injuries and save lives since the early 80s and all new vehicles have front airbags. However, you might be surprised to learn that a man named John Hedrik held the first patent for the airbag in 1953. He called it the “safety cushion” but installing the system was a problem, which is why it was nearly thirty years later before they became a standard feature for vehicles.

There was an attempt to install vehicle airbags in the 70s but a design flaw made them unsafe to use. Eventually, these issues were solved, allowing manufacturers to install front airbags in vehicles successfully during the early 80’s. They have changed a lot since then and in addition to the steering wheel and dashboard airbags many of the new Toyota’s will also have curtain, side, knee and backseat airbags. When you take a closer look at airbags, you may be amazed at how this technology works.

Take a Closer Look at Airbags to See How They Work

Airbags are made from a stretchy type fabric compressed and packed into the small airbag compartment. When you’re in an accident, it will deploy almost instantly to provide protection from the impact.

The airbag system is very complicated but the main part that makes it deploy is the crash sensors. These sensors respond to things like increased pressure, wheel speed, brake pressure and sudden stops, all of which happen during a crash.

During a crash, a signal is sent to the inflator system. This creates a chemical charge that produces nitrogen gas that fills the airbag causing it to burst out of the compartment. The amazing thing is that all of this happens so quickly, that it takes less time than it does to blink. After the accident, the airbag will begin to deflate by itself.

What You Should Know about Airbags

While airbags can save lives and reduce injuries, you do need to follow a few simple rules to avoid being injured by one. When you think about how fast an airbag deploys, you can imagine how much force it has behind it. Due to the speed of deployment, sitting too close to the airbag compartment can be dangerous.

If you must be closer than 10 inches from where the airbag will deploy, be sure to turn the switch to the off position. For this reason, you should consider how close you would be to the dashboard or steering wheel when buying your new Toyota. You may need to look at different models to find the vehicle that suits your stature the best.

If you’re undecided and not sure which vehicle you want, just give us a call. We can provide you with information about the different models and features each one has to help you make an informed decision.

Children are safer riding in the backseat but if they do ride in the front, turn off the airbag because the force at which it deploys can seriously harm a child. Wearing a seatbelt will also help keep you from moving forward or sliding too far down in your seat during an accident, which helps reduce the risk of receiving an injury from the airbag.

If you suspect there is a problem with the airbags or once they have deployed, only allow a qualified professional to reset or work on them to ensure they’re working properly.

Posted in Toyota