How to keep yourself safe in a car full of explosive airbags
Airbags explode towards you at 300km/h to soften the blow of a serious car crash. They have to deploy that fast to get into position ahead of the crash ‘pulse’ catching up with you.
To see why airbags (and seatbelts) are a really good idea, watch the comparison crash video below (two otherwise identical cars; one with and one without a front airbag).
Some cars have eight or more airbags. If your car has even one, it’s essential you adapt to it so that: a) it can be of maximum benefit in a crash and b) so that it won’t hurt you if you’re in the way when it deploys.
Here are eight tips to keep you safe in a space full of airbags
- Don’t hold your arms diagonally across the wheel. If the airbag deploys it will blow your arm toward your head and possibly interfere with the correct interaction between your head and the airbag.
- Sit relatively upright with the wheel pointing roughly towards the top of your chest. Sitting ‘out of position’ can hurt or kill you.
- Don’t drive with anything stuck in your mouth (think: pen, etc.) Obviously.
- Passengers: never place feet on the dashboard. Airbag deployment could easily result in unsurvivable injuries. Front passengers need to sit relatively upright, too.
- Keep arms and elbows inside the vehicle. Side and curtain airbags explode in and down from the side in side impacts, with almost as much force as front airbags.
- Keep children under 12 in the back seat. Airbags are not calibrated to protect children.
- Never put seat covers on seats with inbuilt side airbags (unless approved for airbag deployment by the manufacturer.
- Never fit dash-mats (or anything else) on top of front passenger airbags (unless approved for airbag deployment by the manufacturer.