Seat belts and air bags have been saving lives for many decades. Unlike the seat belt, air bags are an active device. When a collision occurs, the air bag that has been dormant and hidden from view for years, suddenly springs to life with a bang. This device fully deploys within 25 milliseconds after the moment of impact in a collision. To achieve this kind of lightning response, fast reacting chemicals are used to inflate the bag.
Air bags inflate not only with rapid speed, but also with tremendous force. It can break bones, cause internal organ injuries to the chest cavity, and cause severe bruising to the face. Although this sounds scary, the airbag only presents a danger if a part of your body is within its zone of inflation. As long as you remain outside of this zone, it performs as it should and protects your face and head from impacting a hard steering wheel or dashboard.
Four safety tips on air bag use:
Always Wear a Seat Belt
Without a seat belt, the hard braking that often occurs in the final moments of an accident can shift your body forward within the air bag’s deployment zone moments before it inflates. Wearing a seat belt restrains your body against the braking G-forces so that you remain away from the air bag until after it inflates.
Sit Away From the Air Bag
Adjust your seat so that there is at least 10 inches of space from your chest to the steering wheel center. If your legs are not quite long enough to reach the gas and brake pedals from this distance, position your seat closer and then tilt your seat back until you have 10 inches of clearance. Do not tilt the seat too far because it will affect your driving and make you vulnerable to whiplash injury during an accident. Pedal extenders may be necessary.
Children Should Sit in the Back Seat
Do not allow children under 12 years to sit in the front seat. Very small adults, including senior citizens, should also avoid the front seat.
Use the 9 and 3 O’clock Hand Position on the Steering Wheel
Before air bag use in cars, the standard hand position was 10 and 2 o’clock. In today’s cars, this can cause broken arms or wrists from an inflating air bag. Use the 9 and 3 o’clock position instead.
Always wear your seat belt, be mindful of the locations of the air bags in your car, and give them the proper clearance. Don’t hesitate to get the assistance of an Eastern Shore accident attorney if another driver’s actions injured you in an accident. Contact us at the Law Offices of John Critzos, II by calling (844) Take-MyCase or visiting us online at www.844TakeMyCase.com
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