How Serious Does a Collision Have To Be for Airbags To Deploy?

Throughout the years, automobiles have continued to progress in terms of modernization and safety. Along with seat belts, the best protective feature in a vehicle is the airbag, as it can significantly help reduce injuries after a collision. 

Airbags are set to deploy when your vehicle is involved in an accident. But how serious does the collision need to be in order for airbags to deploy? The answer may surprise you. 

Airbags: How They Work and What Collisions Trigger Deployment

An airbag is an inflatable cushion built into several parts of a vehicle, like the steering wheel and above the windows. When a car collides with another vehicle or a stationary object, airbags deploy based on the area of impact. The goal of airbags is to provide added protection to drivers and passengers. 

At the time of the collision, vehicle sensors measure the accident’s severity. If the impact is serious enough, these sensors send signals to the inflators to deploy airbags. The ignitor mixes two chemicals — potassium nitrate and sodium azide — which produce the nitrogen gas that physically inflates the airbag in less than 1/25th of a second.

Generally, airbags minimize forward motion in a collision. Therefore, they often deploy in rear-end and head-on crashes. However, side-impact accidents can also trigger side-curtain airbags to protect individuals in the front and back seats.

The vehicle’s sensors work to detect not only the severity but also the exact location of a crash. For this reason, not every airbag deploys during a collision, as deployment depends on where the impact occurred and whether anyone was sitting on that side of the vehicle.

The Speed at Which Airbags Deploy

While you may believe the car needs to be traveling at high speeds for airbags to go off, that’s not the case. In fact, most manufacturers design the safety feature to deploy during “moderate” crashes. 

A moderate crash can occur when you’re driving as slow as 10 to 15 miles per hour. Anything slower than this may cause your vehicle to consider it to be a “mild” crash, in which airbags do not usually deploy. 

Although a bit surprising, serious accidents can still occur at slower speeds. Therefore, to diminish the severity of collision injuries, airbags go off to cushion the impact. 

Do Airbags Ever Fail?

Under some circumstances, airbags can fail to deploy when necessary for several reasons. Sometimes, airbags suffer a defect during the design or manufacturing process, causing them to work improperly. 

Also, if the vehicle is used, it’s possible it was involved in a previous accident. Airbags can only be used one time. Once they’ve deployed, they must be replaced. This is part of the reason why some vehicles are deemed a total loss following a car crash, as there are no guarantees the vehicle will be safe after airbag replacement. 

If you’re injured in an accident and your airbags fail to properly deploy, you could have a valid compensation claim. It’s best to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney. 

Getting Help After a Collision

If you’re involved in a car accident that’s serious enough for airbags to deploy, you should seek medical attention right away. Although they are there for your protection, the rapid deployment of airbags can cause injuries, especially to children. 

As soon as you’re ready, make sure to consult with a local car accident attorney. A lawyer can thoroughly review the specifics of your collision and provide guidance as you pursue compensation for your crash-related injuries and losses.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 863-5297

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 790-0243