Airbags are an important and effective safety device in your car. Statistics show that airbags reduce the risk of fatality in a head on collision by about 30%. Nowadays, we also have seat mounted and door mounted side airbags – and some cars have six or even eight airbags. The airbags deploy in the event of a crash, and provide cushioning for the driver and passengers in such a situation.
However, it is important to take note of the following, because while airbags are a vital safety feature in a vehicle, they can also pose a danger and/or may not function as expected under some circumstances.
- Airbags are designed to prevent injury in the event of a crash, for people seated normally in a vehicle. Do not sit in the front passenger seat with your feet on the dashboard, and also – do not drive with your hands on the centre hub of the steering wheel – in both of these cases, the people seated in these positions could be injured by the deployment of the airbag.
- Similarly, the airbag is designed to prevent injury to an adult sized person – so don’t seat children under age 13 or less than 153 cm tall in the front seat unless the airbag in switched off.
- Don’t put anything in/on the surfaces of the vehicle that may prevent the deployment of the airbag, or may become a projectile if the airbag deploys. Examples of these types of things could be seat covers (for seat mounted airbags), magnets or phone holders and phones.
- If your airbag becomes faulty and a warning light appears – don’t try to fix this yourself. Take your vehicle to a dealer or qualified mechanic.
- If you have an aftermarket bull bar/roo bar fitted, be advised that this could affect airbag operation – make sure that the manufacturer has certified that the bar won’t affect the performance of the airbag system.
- If your car should roll without actually colliding with anything, the airbags may not deploy unless your vehicle is fitted with a rollover sensor to detect the situation where your car rolls. So it is important when purchasing your vehicle, to check not only how many airbags there are and where they are situated – but also how many and what type of sensors the car has.