According to research statistics, nearly 29,989 motor vehicle accidents occurred in 2014 claiming 32,675 lives in the U.S. alone. So, it is easy to assume that although car air bags, seat belts, and sensors have reduced accidents, car drivers and passengers are nowhere near completely safe. Experts and motor vehicle accident doctors suggest that the confusion regarding the usage of safety measures (available in a car) is one of the primary reasons for injuries and deaths in car crashes. Although successful deployment of in-car safety measures does not really assure 100 percent safety, understanding how they work and clearing out a few confusions about them can help accident victims in making the right decision in a car crash. So, here we are trying to answer a few of the questions regarding in-car safety measures and car crashes.
Will The Air Bag Deploy Even If I Am Not Wearing a Seatbelt?
Yes it will. Modern cars come equipped with pressure sensor, accelerometer, and impact sensors that can detect crash and deploy air bags immediately. But, you should know that air bags are more effective in saving you from colliding with the interior parts of your car only when you are wearing a seatbelt. That is why air bags are called Supplement Restrain system. Seat belts are designed to pull your body during the crash, reducing the motion that has the potential to throw you on the steering wheel or the dashboard, dealing fatal blows to the body. Seatbelts are always the better option to reduce physical damage in car crashes rather than bouncing off on a sensor-triggered inflatable (aka airbag). Plus, safe deployment of air bags do not really claim 100 percent safety. Victims can still suffer from bruises, whiplash injury, and soft tissue injury in a high-impact car crash.
Can Air Bags Cause Injury When Deployed?
Airbags are designed to protect people from injury in car crashes. But, the sheer force of the impact and the speed of air bag deployment are known to cause injuries. Plus, injures can be severe if your air bag is faulty. Here we have a few scenarios how car crash victims can actually get injured by airbags.
As the air bag is inflated using hot nitrogen gas, any tear in the bag can burn your face. And as the deployment takes about a second or so, there is a huge chance of hot nitrogen gas burning your eyes during the crash.
Air bags deploy at the speed of 200 mph, which can easily shatter bones in your body. So, it is not very uncommon for victims to get facial fractures, cracks on frontal breast bones or snapped vertebrae after a car crash.
Air bags can deliver more than five pounds of pressure per square inch, which can cause considerable damage to pregnant women. Research shows that approximately 3,000 pregnancies are lost during car crashes, especially in cars driven by pregnant women.
Defects in the air bag deployment can cause an explosion, capable enough to send sharp metal, glass, and plastic pieces towards you at incredible speed. These projectiles can penetrate you skin and cause deep scale lacerations.
Injuries can appear non-lethal after a car crash due to the sudden rush of adrenalin. But, the scenario might change quickly and you might experience pain. Since even the safety measures in your car are capable of injuring you, staying alert after the accident and taking professional medical assistance seems to be the right way to go.
Will the Airbag Deploy if the Engine is Not Running?
The air bags are designed to deploy if your ignition is on, it doesn’t matter whether the car is moving or not. For example, if you are waiting at a red light and a car slams you from the front, your air bags will deploy. But, a car in a parking lot with ignition off will not activate the air bags if struck. However, some modern cars have auxiliary power for the air bags that can activate the bags even if the car ignition is off. You can check your car manual or ask your car manufacturer to get the relevant information.
Can Air Bags Injure Children in Passenger Seat?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has shown records of multiple deaths among infants and young children since 1993. Many of these cases even show fatalities in a considerably low speed collision record (from 8 to 20 mph). NTSB has released safety recommendations regarding kids and air bags to keep this situation under control. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved air bag injury prevention guideline dictates the following:
- Children traveling in passenger seat should be properly restrained with safety belts.
- Rear facing child safety seats must not be placed on the front passenger seat (in cars with passenger side air bag deployment functionality).
- Children should be positioned far away from the air bag.
- Although air bags do play a major role in keeping car crash injuries under control, they are far from being the foolproof safety measure you seek in a car. Being careful about treating the car crash injuries after the accident is the safest thing a car crash victim can do.
Can We Still Drive a Car After Airbag Deployment?
Technically yes, but you should not try to drive the car after an accident. Your body goes through a horrible condition during a crash, which can cause not just perceivable wounds but internal damages as well. Trying to drive your vehicle with injuries can put you, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk. Plus, driving a vehicle without air bags can make you more vulnerable to accidents, worsening your already damaged health. There are also legal regulations restraining you from driving a vehicle immediately after surviving a car accident.
Now that you know that air bags, seatbelts and other modern safety sensors in a car are not foolproof safety measures, it is better to trust the motor vehicle accident doctors to ensure that you get the right treatment. Tell your doctor about the accident and mention all your discomforts in as much detail as possible. This will help in an appropriate diagnosis and a quick recovery.