Insurance Articles by A-1 Auto Insurance
When You Should Disable Airbags
One of the main driving-related concerns continues to be safety. That is why the majority of newer vehicles include various safety features to protect drivers and passengers while on the road. Most countries require vehicle manufacturers to equip their vehicles with certain safety devices; companies who break these rules are often forced to pay a very high fine.
Airbags are proven safety devices that have saved the life of many drivers and passengers since they were first introduced back in the late 80s. That is why almost all of the current models of American vehicles include airbags as a standard safety feature.
Preventing Chest & Head Injuries
Airbags have been proven very efficient at helping individuals avoid chest or head injuries that would otherwise be fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA conducted a study involved actual vehicle crashes. The results indicated that using both airbags and seatbelts prevented severe head injuries had an efficiency rate of 75 percent, compared to only 66 percent effectiveness for preventing serious injuries to the chest. What do these statistics actually mean? Well, 75 out of every 100 individuals would have suffered a severe head injury and 66 out of every 100 individuals would have suffered major chest injuries if they had not been wearing a seatbelt and been in a vehicle that included an airbag.
How Do Airbags Work?
Airbags help individuals to avoid serious injuries or even death by cushioning passengers or drivers during an accident impact that propels them forward. An individual’s chest, head and neck are prevented from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel or other hard parts of a vehicle’s interior, thanks to an airbag’s cushioning power. In order to work properly, airbags must be deployed with great force and speed.
The Controversial Aspect of Airbags
On the other hand, airbags also remain somewhat controversial. Did you realize that airbags can seriously injure or even kill any individuals who are sitting on top or very near to an airbag when it inflates? Because of the severe force of the airbag, individuals need to be sitting at least ten inches away during an accident. This is considered a safe distance that will enable a person to be protected by an airbag during a motor vehicle accident.
As you can see, airbags do save many lives every year, but they can also cause deaths or serious injuries to a small percentage of people who are sitting too close to them when they deploy. However, it’s important to note the airbags normally cause only minor injuries such as bruises, abrasions or cuts. The brain and chest injuries they prevent are much more serious.
The Activation Switch
This controversy has caused many people to question when they should activate or disable the airbags in their vehicle. Since January of 1998, individuals have been presented the choice to disable installed airbags in their vehicle by using a switch. Consequently, people can now decide if they want to turn these particular safety devices off or on.
How to Decide Whether to Disable Your Airbags
Before you decide whether you should activate or disable the airbags in your vehicle, you need to consider if you will be adequately protected in the case of an accident by using only your seatbelt. It’s important to realize that the combination of airbags and seatbelts provides added protection from serious injuries during a car accident. If you choose to turn off your airbags, you may lose the added protection of your seatbelt.
Special Vehicle Design
Certain vehicles are designed so that the airbags need to work with the seatbelts in order to protect the occupants properly. For example, the seatbelts may yield in the case of a very severe force during a crash. This will prevent your chest from being subjected to excessive force. Once the seatbelts yield, the airbags prevent individuals from propelling forward. If you choose to disable your airbags, you run the risk of hitting hard objects such as the steering wheel inside your vehicle or the vehicle itself.
You should find out if your particular vehicle contains this design. If so, you can contact your local repair shop or car dealer to learn how you can activate or deactivate the airbags in your vehicle. They can also discuss the issues concerning disabling the airbags. Hopefully, this information will help you make a more informed decision regarding whether you wish to activate or disable the airbags when you are driving.
Consider Who Will Be Your Passengers
You must also consider who will be your passengers before you decide to activate or disable the airbags in your vehicle. If the people who will be sitting in the passenger seat containing airbags are disabled, very young, small or elderly, you may want to deactivate the airbags; they could cause serious injuries to these particular individuals because of their tremendous impact when deployed. You should also turn off your airbags if you will be driving anyone who is unable to wear a seatbelt and sit at least 10 inches away from them. Passengers who are older than 12 and can fasten their own seatbelt and sit a minimum of 10 inches from the airbags are considered safe. Because there is a much lower risk that these passengers will suffer a severe injury upon airbag impact, you can safely leave the airbag turned on.
As with any safety device, you should consider their advantages and disadvantages and how they function so you can use them most effectively.
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