Modern vehicles include dozens of features designed to keep you safe during a crash. Seat belts, braking assist systems, anti-lock brakes, and more all work to prevent accidents if possible and prevent injuries if not. One of the most important safety systems in your car is your airbags.

But airbags don’t deploy in all Fort Worth car accidents, so how serious does a collision have to be to trigger airbag deployment? Read on to learn more about airbags and what causes them to go off.

How Do Airbags Work?

Before we dive into the factors that make an airbag deploy, let’s talk some about how airbag systems work. 

Airbags use an electronic control system that has sensors with accelerometers placed on certain parts of the car. When that sensor detects rapid deceleration, those sensors will send a signal telling the airbag to deploy.

When your airbag receives that signal, it mixes two chemicals – sodium azide and potassium nitrate. These two chemicals react to produce nitrogen gas, which is non-toxic and non-flammable. This gas inflates your airbag in less than 1/20th of a second, protecting you from the brutal impact of a crash.

Factors That Determine Airbag Deployment

There are a couple of different factors that go into airbag deployment

The faster you’re going at the time of a collision, the more likely it is that your airbags will go off. Driving into something at just 30 mph has the same physical impact as falling off a three-story building. Higher-speed crashes cause more severe impacts, and your airbags are designed to prevent injuries from these impacts.

Your airbags may also be more likely to go off depending on the direction of the impact. 

Most airbags deploy during front-end collisions, since those tend to be the ones that cause the most intense forward motion. When your car stops suddenly, you go flying forward, and your airbag can catch you and prevent you from colliding with the steering wheel or dashboard.

What Is a “Moderate to Severe” Collision? 

You may hear that airbags tend to deploy in “moderate to severe” collisions. Fender benders are mild enough that they aren’t likely to cause serious injuries. While it’s hard to quantify which crashes count as “moderate to severe,” there are a few guidelines you can look at.

If you’re running into a solid object, such as a tree or building, a crash at about 8 miles per hour or more would be considered moderate to severe. If you’re running into a moving object, such as another car, your crash would need to happen at about 16 mph or more.

While these speeds may seem low, remember that running into something at 30 mph is the same as falling off a three-story building. Crashing at even these low speeds can cause serious injuries if you don’t have your airbags there to protect you.

Why Do Airbags Sometimes Fail to Deploy?

In some cases, your airbags may not deploy, even in an accident that meets all the usual criteria. This is most common in second-hand vehicles. Once the airbags have deployed, they must be replaced – you can’t just pack them back up and wait for the next collision. If you have a used car, it’s important to check that the airbags either have never been used or have been replaced.

There are a few very rare cases where a manufacturer defect causes your airbags to fail. In these situations, the car manufacturer may be liable for any injuries you got in your crash.

Get Help After an Accident

Car accidents can leave you with devastating injuries, but airbags are designed to help. Airbags usually deploy in front-end collisions that happen at more than 8 to 16 mph. Once your airbags deploy, you have to replace them, or the next time your car is involved in a crash, they won’t work.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers can help you take on insurance giants and car manufacturers to get the money you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss the details of your case.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000