Things to know about AIRBAGS


An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system using a bag designed to inflate extremely quickly, then quickly deflate during a collision. It consists of the airbag cushion, a flexible fabric bag, an inflation module, and an impact sensor. The purpose of the airbag is to provide a vehicle occupant a soft cushioning and restraint during a crash event. It can reduce injuries between the flailing occupant and the interior of the vehicle.


During a crash, the vehicle's crash sensors provide crucial information to the airbag electronic controller unit (ECU), including collision type, angle, and severity of impact. Using this information, the airbag ECU's crash algorithm determines if the crash event meets the criteria for deployment and triggers various firing circuits to deploy one or more airbag modules within the vehicle. Working as a supplemental restraint system to the vehicle's seat-belt systems, airbag module deployments are triggered through a pyrotechnic process that is designed to be used once. Newer side-impact airbag modules consist of compressed-air cylinders that are triggered in the event of a side-on vehicle impact.


Airbags are designed to keep people from getting major injuries in the event of a crash. As such, it is important to have them installed at all times. However, according to a study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), not all airbags can contribute to the safety of the passengers in car crash events.


Knee airbags are designed to lighten the impact of a car crash by keeping our legs steady to avoid suffering major leg injuries. Moreover, they are also expected to cut chest and abdomen wounds due to the passenger’s reduced lower body movement. However, in a study made by IIHS, where they looked at 400 frontal crash tests with belted passengers, they found out that though passengers had lower risk of head injuries, knee airbags still increased the risk of lower leg and right femur injuries. This result was further validated when they reviewed crash reports collated from 14 states where they found out that knee airbags were only able to successfully reduce overall risk injury by 0.5%.


Given this study from IIHS, would you still want to have knee airbags? Let us know your thoughts!


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