A common misconception about airbags can make Mission Viejo car accidents very deadly. This misconception is that seat belts are unnecessary when you have airbags. The public often view airbags as a stand-alone safety system and assume that seat belt use is just an extra safety measure. This is incorrect because airbags are designed to be used with seat belts. Without seat belts, airbags are ineffective in many types of accidents and can be very dangerous.
One problem with airbags is they deploy with such a violence that they can cause severe injury or even death. Airbags inflate at a speed of about 200 miles per hour. It has been said that getting hit by an airbag is like getting hit in the face by a baseball bat. However even professional baseball players cannot swing a bat that fast.
One’s face is only meant to come into contact with an airbag after it has inflated. When you are not restrained by a seat belt, hard braking before an accident will bring your face inside the airbag’s inflation zone just before the collision. After the collision activates the airbag, it will accelerate into your face.
Not being restrained by a seat belt causes your body to be thrown into the airbag in ways not intended by the airbag manufacturers. Although the head is stopped by the airbag, the lower body continues to move forward underneath the bag. This violently snaps the head back which can cause spinal cord injury.
Research has shown that using airbags without seat belts increases the risk of spinal cord injury. The risk for cervical spine fracture is 70 percent higher for drivers and 7 times higher for passengers. Unbelted people who are at the highest risk of fatal injury by an airbag are the very young, the very old, people of small stature, and the very frail.
Another problem with airbags is that they are not useful for a number of accident types. Airbags are designed to deploy at specific collision angles. If the collision is in a diagonal direction, the front and side airbags may not deploy. Airbags may not deploy if the collision is gradual such as when a car sandwiches underneath a truck or hits the side of a car near its front or back. An airbag may not inflate when hitting a wall at an oblique angle.
Yet another problem with airbags is that they only remain inflated for a very brief time. This means they cannot be counted on for accidents involving multiple collisions or rollovers. Airbags are designed for very specific types of accidents and are meant to be used with seat belts.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Mission Viejo car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us at Silverthorne Attorneys for help and advice.