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Murcotts Road Safety Message - Airbags 

Experts suggest that front driver and passenger airbags only reduce the risk of injury by 5–10% while road users believe airbags will protect them in most crashes.

Avoid tailgating by adopting Murcotts’ Defensive Driving key strategies of Looking Up and Staying Back to significantly reduce your chance of coming face to face with your airbag. 

 

Airbag Facts:

  • Airbags are a Secondary Restraint System (SRS)  that is designed to operate with seatbelts as the primary restraint. By design, airbags only reduce the chances of injury once the driver is already involved in an accident. Even then, there is a misconception that airbags provide a soft cushion from any impact which is untrue as injuries from impacts with the vehicle interior still occur. 'Active' safety systems are a more preventative measure that help drivers avoid getting into accidents in the first place. This includes both Vehicle and Driver 'Active' Safety Systems - ESC, ABS, TCS as well as Defensive Driver Training which promotes safe driver behaviours such as Look Up, Stay Back and maintain a 2 second safety gap.
  • Airbags deploy (inflate) at over 300KM/H
  • Front airbags are triggered when multiple sensors, called accelerometers detect a sudden deceleration or acceleration of the vehicle that would force the occupant towards the airbag space. They are not triggered by contact made with the vehicle surface as is commonly thought. Typically, these sensors are only triggered from forces incurred at speeds above 20KM/H.
  • Airbags deploy/inflate within 55 milliseconds - about half the time it takes for the human eye to blink.
  • Holes at the rear of the airbag are designed to vent the gas allowing it to deflate gradually as the occupant makes contact slowing their rate of deceleration and reducing forces on the body and speed when making contact with the vehicle.
  • An airbag deployment measures around 160 decibels which is louder than a jumbo jet taking off at 100 meters, a gunshot or a firecracker. In most accidents, occupants do not recall hearing the airbag deploy.
  • An electrical charge detonates a solid chemical gas generator that fills the airbag with nitrogen gas.
  • Corn Flour (cornstarch/talc) is used to lubricate the air bag material to ensure successful and full deployment.

 

Regards

Geoff Thomas
Managing Director
Murcotts Driving Excellence Pty Ltd