October 27th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
A car airbag works in combination with a seat belt to protect drivers and passengers during accidents and collisions. It limits the risk that the head or upper body will hit a car’s interior if a crash occurs. In doing so, an airbag helps prevent serious injuries and fatalities.
The History of the Car Airbag
American engineer John W. Hetrick is credited with inventing the car airbag. Following a car accident, Hetrick received a patent that became the prototype for the modern airbag in 1953. German inventor Walter Linderer also received a patent in 1953 for an inflatable car cushion designed to protect drivers involved in accidents and collisions.
In 1967, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to create airbags. And in the late 1960s, New Jersey mechanical engineer Allen K. Breed invented a crash sensor that spawned the first electromechanical car airbag system.
Following the creation of his crash sensor, Breed continued to explore ways to enhance airbags to further protect auto drivers and passengers against accidents and collisions. One of his top airbag innovations: an airbag that vents air at the same time it inflates.
In 1998, the U.S. government instituted a law that requires automakers to integrate dual frontal airbags on all passenger vehicles. This law remains in place, and over the past few decades, dual frontal airbags have been staples of passenger vehicles sold across the country.
Most of today’s cars come standard with six airbags. Meanwhile, airbag technology is constantly evolving, and airbag manufacturers are doing their part to ensure their technology consistently meets the needs of drivers and passengers.
How Do Airbags Work?
An airbag is designed to work instantly, regardless of when a car accident or collision occurs.
Your car’s airbag comes equipped with an accelerometer, which detects any changes in your vehicle’s speed. The accelerometer ensures your airbag inflates as soon as your vehicle slows down following an accident or collision. So, if you decelerate at a speed that exceeds your car’s normal braking speed, your airbag will automatically inflate.
Along with inflating when you are involved in a car accident or collision, your airbag knows when to deflate itself. Once your head makes contact with your airbag, the bag starts to deflate via small holes around its edges. This ensures that your airbag will be fully deflated by the time your car comes to a complete stop.
What Are Airbags Made of?
Most airbags are constructed from nylon. They are usually inflated with nitrogen or argon gas, both of which are non-toxic,
After an airbag deploys, it may result in a smoke-like smell. This is normal because talcum powder is often used to lubricate an airbag and ensure that it deploys correctly.
Airbag Safety Tips
When you drive a car, you should keep a minimum of 10 in. between your chest and the center of the steering wheel. This helps reduce the risk of potential chest pain or other cardiac injuries during airbag deployment.
It also helps to know how many airbags are installed in your car and where they are located. You can find this information in your car’s owner’s manual.
You should keep an eye out for airbag recalls, too. If your car needs new airbags due to a recall, follow the recall instructions, so you can get your airbags replaced right away.
Remember, airbags can help save lives for car drivers and passengers involved in accidents and collisions. Take care of your car’s airbags to ensure they will work correctly if you are ever involved in a crash.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Montrose, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Los Angeles area.