Accidental airbag deployment has led to many injuries from minor concussions to serious head injuries and even death. Cases have been recorded in which the airbag fails to deploy during a crash and others in which the airbags spontaneously deploys for no apparent reason. Accidental airbag deployment can be caused by system errors in the car’s safety features, tampering with the airbag system or extreme environmental conditions.
Below are the causes, prevention methods and tips on how to avoid injuries related to accidental airbag deployment.
How an Airbag Works
Airbags are standard car safety features meant to protect the driver and passengers during a car crash. Airbag systems are composed of a crash sensor, a diagnostic module and the airbag casing. Crash sensors detect sudden deceleration and relay that information to the diagnostic module, which processes the information and determines if there is a need to deploy the airbag.
Accidental Airbag Deployment Causes
Installing aftermarket car accessories such as an MP3 docking stations, DVD players, cell phone chargers and other devices is one of the major causes of accidental airbag deployment. The electrical system of the airbags are sensitive to even the slightest change to its wiring and power supply. It is recommended that you never try to install aftermarket electrical car accessories by yourself.
Airbags can also accidentally deploy when a car is exposed to extreme environmental conditions such as severe dust, moisture and salt residue.
Preventing Accidental Airbags Deployment
Never attempt to install after-market electrical car accessories by yourself if you are not qualified auto electrician. If you are an auto electrician, always disconnect the airbag system before installing other after-market electrical car accessories such as a GPS navigator or a new DVD player.
Understanding how an airbag system works is a key measure in preventing injuries due to accidental airbag deployment. Always read your car’s safety features manual before driving your new car.
Do not drive your car too long in dusty areas and places with high moisture.
Have your car’s safety features regularly checked by in an auto maintenance shop equipped with a computerized airbag system checking equipment. Check for faulty and outdated parts and replace them with new factory parts instead of having it repaired.
Never have a used or salvaged airbag system installed in your car.
Severe injuries caused by an accidental airbag deployment are mostly due to electronic devices cluttered on the dashboard such as your cell phone, MP3 player, GPS navigator. Never leave your electronic device on the dashboard. A glove compartment located in your dashboard is the best place to store electronic devices.
Always position your head 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Having your head forward near the steering wheel during a crash can cause severe head injuries due to the jarring impact of the airbag to your head.
Do not allow children and senior citizens to sit at the front passenger seat. Instead, install a child seat at the middle of the back passenger seat for children and always instruct the back seat passengers to wear seat belts.
Always wear your lap belts and shoulder harness.