Up In the Air

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According to the NHTSA, more than 30,000 people are killed in vehicle accidents each year.  Because we want you to be safe, many of our blogs are devoted to sharing important information about maintaining the safety of your vehicle and driving carefully. You know that your car does a lot to keep you safe.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to be safe is to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of injury in a crash by 50 percent, as reported by the National Safety Council.

There’s another important safety device in your car that you probably take for granted. It’s there, waiting to protect you in the event of a crash. Since 1998, all new cars have been required to have front airbags for both the driver and the passenger. Many cars also have side impact airbags. So, how do they work?

Your vehicle has several sensors that send a signal telling the vehicle to inflate the air bag. In less than 1/20th of a second, the front impact airbags inflate via a chemical reaction that releases a harmless gas into the airbag. Side impact airbags are designed to inflate even more quickly because passengers are closer to objects they may strike from the side than they are from the front.

It is estimated that airbags saved more than 28,000 lives in the U.S. from 1980 to 2010. Still, there are a few important things you should know about this important safety device:

  • Children under the age of 13 and people who are very small in stature should not sit in a seat with an airbag. This is due to the rapid deployment, which can injure smaller individuals.

  • Many vehicles, especially those with limited passenger space, have switches that will disable the airbag so that those smaller individuals can ride safely.

  • It is safest to sit back in a seat, further away from the airbag. You will still be protected, but will reduce the risk of injury from airbag inflation.

  • Airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts! This is vital to remember.

  • Following an accident that causes your airbag to deploy, it is necessary to have your airbag replaced by a qualified professional.

We are thankful that technology has advanced, increasing safety and saving lives. We encourage you to drive safely and know your vehicle. In the event of an accident, know that you can count on Schaefer to “Make It Like It Never Happened!”

Sources: How Stuff Works and Safer Car.

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