Airbags may cause either complacency or fear in drivers. The truth is, they are neither soft and velvety pillows nor are they instruments bent on doing you harm. When properly used, they save lives and reduce or prevent crash injuries. The key is understanding how they work and using them correctly. This starts with rejecting common myths about them that can cause a fatality or serious injury. Here are three:

Airbags Make Seat Belts Obsolete

Airbags are supplemental devices. That is, they won’t protect you when used alone without wearing a seat belt. In a head-on collision, the airbag will stop your head while the rest of your body goes under the steering wheel. It’s hard to imagine what that is like at highway speeds. It could cause serious neck and spine injuries, and break bones in the lower body. Internal organ damage is another possibility.

Airbags Can’t/Will Harm You

Many people fall into one of two camps: some barely give their airbags any thought, and others are deathly afraid of them. Airbags have an inflation zone. If part of your body is in that zone when the airbag inflates, serious injury and even broken bones may occur. Passengers need only wear their seat belts and keep them properly adjusted. Their seat belts should have no excess slack, which would cause injury even without an airbag.

The driver should also wear her seatbelt without excess slack. In addition, she should position herself 10-12 inches away from the steering wheel by adjusting the seat either forward or backward. Do not recline the seat excessively because this may cause serious injury from the seat belt.

The driver should also hold the steering wheel in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. Other positions may place the arms in the airbag inflation zone and possibly cause an arm injury, such as a broken bone.

Braking Hard May Inflate the Airbag

The sensors that trigger airbag inflation only respond to the intense G-forces (decelerations) encountered in a collision. Your braking system and tire traction with the road cannot generate G-forces this extreme.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for your legal needs if a motorist injured you in a crash.

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