Required in every car on the road, airbags are something you never want to have to need. Unless you’ve ripped them out for some stupid stunt involving replacing couch cushions with airbags, which we do NOT recommend. Airbags are there to protect you. Most models of cars have them in the center of the steering wheel on the driver’s side and just above the glove compartment on the passenger side. Some models of car have side airbags as well for added cushioning during a collision including:
- Mazda Mazda3
- Toyota Camry
- Chrysler 200
- Honda Civic Coupe
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Mini Cooper Hard Top 2-door
- Nissan Sentra
- Hyundai Elantra
- And more
In addition to the side airbag, there are airbags in some cars in multiple locations. Such as knee airbags to protect your knees. As well as curtain airbags which deploy from the inside of the roof of the car.
The inventor of the airbag was a Slovene inventor and Olympic athlete named Peter Florjančič. Originally he created it with Dutch people in mind who would drive into canals and crash and drown. Perhaps as a flotation device as well. Funnily enough, he also invented the perfume atomizer and the plastic photographic slide frame.
In 1968 Allen Breed, founder of Breed Technologies, one of the world’s biggest car safety manufacturers, would invent the first airbag crash sensor. Allowing the airbag to deploy at the moment of impact, reducing the impact to the passenger and potentially saving a life.
The melding of these two inventions created what we know today as the modern airbag. Its first iteration in the states was the 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado. The 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car available to the public with built-in safety airbags. Perhaps one of the most monumental improvements to car safety and most crucial life-saving components.
But just how do these things work? Airbags deploy when the sensor connected to them detects an impact. After that, a nylon fabric bag fills with nitrogen gas and will inflate at speeds of 100 to 220 miles per hour. It takes 1/20th of a second for them to inflate. When it comes to reducing the impact of a collision, they need to be that fast.
Even with these incredible devices in your car, it’s still recommended that you wear a seatbelt. Due to the incredibly fast nature of airbags, young children and babies are not recommended to sit in the front seats. If a child does need to be seated up front, make sure their seatbelt is fastened and that their seat is moved back from the area the airbag could injure them in. Do this especially if a baby is in the front in a car seat appropriate for them and turn the seat around. Even though manufacturers used to put labels on airbags to replace them every 10 to 15 years, this is no longer the case. Your car’s airbags should be good for the entire life of the car. Do keep an eye out for any sort of manufacturer recall but, those are rare and airbags are very safe and they’re part of what keeps you safe on the road.