7 November 2017

What do airbags do?

Prior to the 1980s, seat belts were the only form of passive restraint in our cars, and statistics have shown that the use of seat belts has saved thousands of lives.

In the 1980s the first commercial airbags appeared in motor vehicles. 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.

But how do they work? We know that moving objects have momentum, and cars consist of several objects, including the vehicle, loose objects inside the vehicle and of course, the passengers. When a car is stopped by a collision, the vehicle itself may be stopped, but the other objects inside the vehicle will continue to move at whatever speed the car was travelling, until they too are stopped by the body of the car or the windscreen. When a car crashes, the car’s momentum is changed instantly, but the passengers’ momentum has not changed. The goal of the seat belts and also the airbags is to help to stop the passenger’s momentum while doing as little damage as possible.

SRS airbags supplement the restraining action of the seat belt, and provide a barrier that can reduce the severity of head injuries in a crash. These types of airbags are now standard in most new vehicles, and are located in the hub of the steering wheel (driver airbag), in the dashboard above the glove compartment (passenger airbag), and side airbags are located in the door panel or seat. Curtain side airbags are located above the side doors.

During impact, sensors in the vehicle detect the sudden deceleration. A strong enough impact will initiate a flow of electricity to the inflator which will light the gas generator and the airbag will inflate in milliseconds into the space between the driver and the steering wheel, or between the passenger and the dashboard and between the side door and the driver/passenger. The bag will then deflate quickly when the gas escapes through vent holes or through the fabric – absorbing the energy of the driver/passenger when this occurs.

These days some airbags have different levels of inflation depending on the speed of impact and the distance between the driver and the steering wheel.

It is important to know that certain types of collisions, such as a rear-end collision, or if your car should roll without actually colliding with anything, may not cause the airbags to deploy unless your vehicle is fitted with a rather sophisticated sensor system, and specifically rollover sensors 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.

Also important to note is that the front passenger airbag should be set OFF if you have a child under the age of 13 or a person less than 153 cm tall in the front passenger seat.

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Carbiz Statement on War in Ukraine

In the past century, few nations have suffered more than the people of Ukraine. During the Second World War, the country, including its capital, were ravaged by the forces of Nazism. 2,000 mass graves of Ukrainian Jews remain throughout the country as evidence of a barbaric and shameful past.

Aside from the devastation caused by invasion, we remember the millions of Ukrainians who died in the famine imposed on Ukraine in the 1930s through the Stalinist policies directed against the peasantry from the Kremlin. This is one of the great crimes of modern history and is so often forgotten.

With this bloody history in mind, today we watch with anguish and despair as the people of Ukraine are invaded once more. Once again, we see needless suffering from policies directed from Moscow. Ukraine is facing loss of life, the prospect of loss of land, and loss of freedom.

Ukraine is a sovereign state and its people have the absolute right to determine whether their future lies in closer ties with Europe and the US or with Russia. The Russian Federation has sought to justify the military conquest of another state’s territory on the basis that they are protecting inhabitants of the same ethnicity allegedly suffering persecution. The use of this narrative as a pretext for invasion has a dark and sinister history.

It is difficult to comprehend how such acts could even be contemplated by the Russian Federation, which has itself suffered so greatly and sacrificed so immensely in the struggle against foreign invaders. Russia's history is of finishing wars not beginning them, protecting their land and their people against the tyrannical aspirations of would-be conquerors. This is a glorious history of which the Russian people are justifiably proud. Yet today, Russia is the aggressor and its actions violate the most basic norms of international law and breach international peace and security.

We also watch with admiration as Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky demonstrates the very best of Ukraine and of leadership. His refusal to allow his nation to be consumed by a great military power, his refusal to evacuate himself and his family despite credible reports of assassination plots, his willingness to place himself on the frontlines to bolster the moral of his forces and his people, are truly inspiring. President Zelensky’s Jewish background show the new tolerance and diversity of Ukraine and its reconciliation with a troubled and complex past. President Zelensky has been lauded as the new leader of the free world, and he inspires us all to stand tall in the face of overwhelming force, to remain close to one’s people, to be guided by principle and integrity, and to fight with courage.

We hope that this war comes to an immediate and lasting end. We hope that a ceasefire can take effect to protect civilian life and infrastructure. And we hope that fruitful negotiations are commenced and successfully completed. We deplore the bloodshed and suffering needlessly imposed on the Ukrainian people. And we extend our solidarity to Ukraine and its people throughout the world during this most difficult time.

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Toyota Kluger Hybrid

So you've got a partner, a dog, two point five kids, a good job, solar panels on the roof, and need a reliable modern car. Without any fault of your own, your pride and joy big SUV has just been centre-punched by some red light runner.

So what comes next? You have a choice of rental car, to be paid for by the at fault drivers insurance provider. Obviously something in the same class. What do you choose? Something like a seven seat Toyota Kluger? Save the day the Carbiz way!

The Toyota Kluger hybrid? Lets have a look at it. First off, its a very utilitarian efficient vehicle, that does not stand out. But you know it has the legendary Toyota reliability and toughness. You are not trying to impress the neighbours, you just want comfortable reliable transport that is non-polluting, quiet and comfortable, and has all the electronic bells and whistles that will keep the kids amused.

The Kluger sits midway between the smaller Toyota cars, and the very popular rugged Land Cruiser models. It is notably quiet to drive, and just feels so smooth and easy to drive. You sit higher than in a regular small car, which is very nice in heavy traffic conditions.

Much of the time in traffic it will be running on its electric motor, but you have no worries about range as in an all-electric car. The Toyota's hi-tech 2.5 litre 4 cylinder petrol engine will kick in as required, either to supply extra power when needed, or to charge the battery in continuous slow traffic. The absolute best of both. You are not trying to make a statement, as in buying a pure electric which might run short of power just when the kids need to be somewhere, like half an hour ago.

Safety is top class, with seven airbags, and an array of semi-autonomous safety functions that virtually take control of the car if it detects an object like a cyclist, or strays from its lane. With its detection systems, it almost has a spatial aura all around it that enables it to escape if that space is violated.

Plenty of cargo space for junk, rides well, not at all harsh, ticks all the boxes really. Resale value is not an issue. Perfect!

And if after a taste you decide that an outback holiday adventure sounds like a good idea, you're ready. I know of people who have driven their Kluger to Birdsville on a camping trip. It rode the stoney roads very well, allowed zero ingress of dust, and came home ready to do it again. While the Land Cruisers might be the true outback tool for the Simpson Desert, the Kluger is extremely capable of handling the outback's formed roads without feeling that it is being stretched or tested. But check the contract fine print before heading off!

And once home you CAN impress the neighbours by leaving it dust covered for a few days. It is almost de rigueur for a Kluger to flag that it has been to the outback.

Carbiz is leading the industry with an ever-growing fleet of green vehicles both Hybrid and Electric. Being not at fault in a car accident means you are entitled for a replacement car just like yours at no cost to you.

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