How Airbags Work
Airbags have saved thousands of lives in North America every year since they appeared commercially in automobiles in the 1980’s. Statistics show that airbags greatly decrease the chance of dying in a frontal accident (about 30 percent) and those numbers keep on improving as technology advances.
The airbag’s job is to slow the passenger’s speed to zero during a crash with little to no damage. An airbag’s inflation system consists of sodium azide and potassium nitrate. When these two compounds react, the airbag is filled with nitrogen gas and expands.
An airbag is effective because of how fast and powerful it bursts during a crash and then deflates after impact. The burst travels at around 322 km/h, which is faster than the blink of an eye and deflates just a second later, giving you breathing room.
While airbags can be beneficial to many individuals during an accident, they can also be harmful to some people such as children. Fortunately, airbags have an on/off switch for individuals who run the risk of being seriously injured if an airbag hits them. Examples include; people with medical conditions, young children and drivers who are too short.
Although airbags have helped save many lives, sometimes it still isn’t enough. Fortunately, airbags should continue to improve and reduce the chance of serious or fatal injury in a car crash even further.