Busting Air Bag Myths

As we all know from years of science-themed television programming, every great myth ends with something blowing up – and we’ll get to that. We promise. But first we’d like to take a little time to bust or confirm a few myths about air bags and other life-saving safety systems found in your car. Any time an air bag deploys, it can be a scary, confusing and expensive experience. So let’s start there.

Busted: It just tickles
Glass, noise, sharp pain, your seatbelt hugging you tightly, spinning out of control. We won’t lie to you. It hurts. A lot.  During all of that chaos, it’s like getting kicked in the face and chest by two MMA fighters with bunny slippers on their feet. Sure, the slippers are cute and fluffy, but they’re also attached to very powerful feet which just kicked you in the face and chest. You may even suffer abrasions, broken bones or other injuries from the airbag. But you know what? Your life depends upon these sacks of air pummeling you before you meet the windshield. So consider the minor injuries a very fair trade.

Plausibly confirmed: The car is totaled
In addition to whatever damage has been inflicted on your car body, it’s generally safe to assume an accident that deploys your airbags will result in a total loss, depending on your insurance coverage. If both airbags are now limp balloons dangling from your dashboard, it could cost nearly $2000 to cover parts and labor on that fix alone. Not to mention any additional safety deployments. So, odds are high that you’ll be looking at a totaled vehicle.

Busted: The car is on fire
However serious the inciting accident might have been, taking a blow from an air bag can be disorienting and may even stun you momentarily. It can even cause some injuries all by itself. But as you take stock of your situation in the moments after an accident, remember that the minor explosives used to deploy the air bag can often smell like smoke or fire. Don’t panic. If your car really is on fire, of course you need to get free and to safety if you’re able. But more than likely, you’re just smelling the lingering stench of exploding airbags. And some folks have even said they sneeze a lot due to the powder in the cabin. Gesundheit. 

Confirmed: You might be stuck
A lot happens in the milliseconds it takes to have an accident. But the moments that follow may feel like an eternity. See modern cars have this handy safety feature called a seatbelt pre-tensioner that – just like the airbag – explodes into action as soon as your car knows it’s had an accident. Its job is to instantaneously recoil your seatbelt and keep you from flying forward. But once the accident is over, it continues to hug your body in place and can be a little unnerving. Again, don’t panic. EMTs will know how to set you free. Trust us, they take classes for this kind of thing.

BUSTED: Airbags are boring
Yeah, we know. More than anything, airbags are vital, life-saving devices that considerably increase survival rates in accidents. But has anyone ever mentioned how much fun it is to watch exploding airbags in slow motion? Enjoy.