In your car, just a few feet or even a few inches from your head, is a device that is powerful enough to cause severe and long lasting injury to you. Paradoxically, that same device could also save your life, as it has for many other car accident victims. That device is your airbag.
Airbags are Powerful
Airbags are literal explosions that happen inside of your car. Airbags must expand with enough speed to keep your head from slamming into the interior of the car. Inflating within 8-40 milliseconds takes extreme force.
Although totally unscientific, videos online can be found of people conducting experiments with airbags to demonstrate their power. The videos show expanding airbags moving large steel columns, and shooting other heavy objects feet into the air, often more quickly than the camera can even record.
Airbags can Malfunction
Airbags are programmed to understand the difference between an accident and a pothole, or simply a sudden stop, to keep them from deploying improperly. They expand and immediately deflate, to avoid an occupant’s head from hitting a fully expanded balloon.
Although there have been occasions where airbags malfunction and inflate improperly causing injury, attention is turning to what drivers can do to prevent injury when the airbag deploys properly.
Woman’s Positioning Causes Injury
A recent new report tells the story of a woman who was doing something that many of us do in the passenger seat of a car—riding with her legs propped up on the dashboard. The car was involved an in accident, deploying the airbags. The force of the bags propelled the woman’s foot into her face. She broke her nose, femur, arm, and ankle and has what appears to be a permanent disability.
The woman reports that she had one foot on the dashboard, but many people often ride with both feet up, or in positions where their knees are inches away from their faces.
Airbag technology is calculated to take into account the proper body positioning of an occupant. The timing and amount of inflation that airbags are programed for, all assume correct body positioning. That is why experts are highlighting how important it is to pay attention to your body positioning when in a vehicle.
Occupants in a car should try to keep as much distance between them and the steering wheel (or dashboard, if in a passenger seat) as possible. Both hands should be on the steering wheel so that a deploying airbag does not break a limb or shoot it into the occupant’s face.
Seat Belts are Vital
Seat belts also should be worn at all times. Aside from the obvious dangers of not wearing one, an occupant’s body may twist or shoot in different directions during an accident. As a result, the deploying airbag may hit parts of the body that it was not intended to hit. A seat belt will often ensure that your body is in the correct position to minimize the impact of an airbag deployment.
Car accidents can cause injury no matter what you do. Understand the causes of your car accident and who is responsible for your injuries. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your injury or liability case.