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. Airbags distribute the force of the impact more evenly over the occupant’s upper body, stopping the occupant more gradually.

But the frontal airbags would not help you in many types of collisions, including rollovers, rear impacts, and many side impacts, primarily because an occupant’s motion is not toward the airbag.

Roof-mounted rollover airbags would not help you in many types of collisions, including many frontal or near frontal collisions, and rear impacts.

Airbags should never be regarded as anything more than a supplement to safety belts, and then only in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal collisions for the driver’s and right front passenger’s frontal airbags, and only in moderate to severe side collisions or rollovers for vehicles with roof-mounted rollover airbags.

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