How Does an Airbag Restrain?

In moderate to severe frontal or near frontal collisions, even belted occupants can contact the steering wheel or the instrument panel. In moderate to severe side collisions, even belted occupants can contact the inside of the vehicle.

Airbags supplement the protection provided by safety belts. Frontal airbags distribute the force of the impact more evenly over the occupant's upper body, stopping the occupant more gradually.

Seat-mounted side impact and roof-rail airbags distribute the force of the impact more evenly over the occupant's upper body.

But airbags would not help in many types of collisions, primarily because the occupant's motion is not toward those airbags. See When Should an Airbag Inflate?  for more information.

Airbags should never be regarded as anything more than a supplement to safety belts.

    See also:

    Top Tether Anchor
    Top Tether Anchor A top tether (A, C) anchors the top of the child restraint to the vehicle. A top tether anchor is built into the vehicle. The top tether attachment (B) on the child restrai ...

    Backing Up
    Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Then, to move the trailer to the left, just move that hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right. Always b ...

    Instrument Panel
    A. Exterior Lamp Controls. Fog Lamps (If Equipped). Instrument Panel Illumination Control. Head-Up Display (HUD) (If Equipped). B. Air Vents. C. Turn and Lane-Change Lever. See Turn and La ...