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How Serious Does a Collision Have to Be for Airbags to Deploy?

In the event of a car crash, airbags play a crucial role in mitigating the impact and protecting occupants. Understanding when airbags deploy is vital for drivers and passengers alike. In this guide, our dedicated experts at the Personal Injury Legal Group will explore the factors that determine when airbags are triggered and how the deployment system works.

Collision Have to Be for Airbags to Deploy

The Speed You Have to Be Going for the Airbag to Deploy

You might be interested to know the speed at which your airbags will go off. Most airbags are designed to deploy when you run into something at a speed of over 10 miles per hour, depending on the car model. While the speed might seem slow, it still has the potential to cause significant damage. Hitting a wall at just 25 miles per hour can have the same impact as falling off a sizable structure. Similarly, collisions at low speeds can be devastating, and your airbags can help to reduce some of that impact.

The Purpose of Airbags

Airbags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe collisions to provide an additional layer of protection to the vehicle’s occupants. The primary purpose is to prevent or reduce injuries caused by the force of impact, especially to the head and chest areas. However, not every collision warrants airbag deployment, and the decision is influenced by various factors:

Collision Severity

The deployment of airbags is directly tied to the severity of a collision. Modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated sensors and algorithms that assess the force of impact. Airbags typically deploy in crashes with relative force, such as high-speed collisions or accidents with a substantial deceleration rate.

Frontal Collisions

Airbags are most commonly associated with frontal collisions. In such accidents, sensors located in the front of the vehicle detect the rapid deceleration caused by the impact. If the force exceeds a predetermined threshold, the airbags are triggered to deploy almost instantly. This provides a cushioning effect for the driver and front-seat passengers.

Side-Impact Collisions

Side-impact collisions can also lead to airbag deployment. Vehicles are equipped with additional sensors on the sides that detect the force of impact. If the impact is severe enough, side airbags may deploy to protect occupants from injury caused by the lateral forces involved in the collision.

Rollover Accidents

In cases of rollover accidents, vehicles may be equipped with rollover sensors that trigger the deployment of side curtain airbags. These airbags create a protective barrier along the windows to prevent occupants from being ejected or sustaining injuries during a rollover event.

It is important to note that some advanced airbag systems are designed to deploy in multiple stages, adapting to the dynamics of the collision. For instance, if a vehicle experiences a series of impacts in quick succession, the airbags may deploy in stages to provide continuous protection to the occupants.

Non-Deployable Scenarios

Non-deployable scenarios refer to situations in which airbags are designed not to deploy due to specific characteristics of the collision or other factors. While airbags are crucial safety featuresĀ in automobiles, they are not activated in every instance of vehicular impact. Being aware of these non-deployable scenarios is important for drivers and passengers to have a realistic expectation of airbag functionality.

Low-speed impacts, typically below a certain threshold, are often considered non-deployable scenarios. Minor fender benders or collisions with minimal force may not meet the predetermined criteria for airbag deployment. The sophisticated sensor systems in modern vehicles are programmed to discern between levels of impact, ensuring that airbags are reserved for situations where the risk of injury is more substantial.

In cases where the collision occurs from the rear, airbags are generally not designed to deploy unless the force of impact is significant. This is because rear-end collisions typically result in occupants being pushed into their seats, and the risk of injury may not be as high as in frontal or side impacts.

It is important to note that airbags are calibrated to respond to specific angles and directions of impact. If the collision occurs at an angle or in a direction that does not meet the predetermined criteria for deployment, the airbags may remain inactive. This is a deliberate design choice to ensure that the system deploys only when it is most likely to provide effective protection.

Contact a Personal Injury Legal Group Attorney

While airbags significantly contribute to occupant safety, it is crucial to note that they are just one aspect of a vehicle’s overall safety system. If you sustained injuries in a collision caused by another person’s negligence, do not hesitate to reach out to us at the Personal Injury Legal Group for legal guidance.


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