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How Fast Do Airbags Deploy? [ Know How It Works ]

How Fast Do Airbags Deploy? [ Know How It Works ]

The airbag has become an essential safety feature for every car, just like the ABS brakes. It is a massive bag of air that is to explode whenever the car faces any accident. Beginning with one behind the steering wheel and one on the front passenger seat in the early 70s, Ford car manufacturing company claimed that car airbags were not eligible for mass production.

However, in 1998, airbags in the driver’s seat were made mandatory for all cars. And with evolving technology, nowadays, all the vehicles are filled with dots around the entire vehicle, protecting the travelers in case of a devastating accident.

When purchasing a car, airbags are now considered a safety precaution, and customers will always view the number of airbags. However, you must know everything about how these life-saving devices work apart from all these.

How fast do airbags deploy?

Considering all the properties involved- detonation and explosion, most customers think the airbags will explode quickly upon reaction. But it is not the case. The deployment speed of an airbag generally varies between 100 and 200 mph.

Moreover, the maximum air pressure of an airbag cannot exceed five psi. These are not the numbers one can expect. However, there are several reasons for setting an airbag to such controls.

By containing low air pressure inside an airbag, the deceleration speed will be slower, which will allow more time for the person’s body to slow down.

Though, a speed ranging between 100 and 200 mph is also rapid and is expected to be relatively faster than you could expect. An airbag cannot deploy at a speed more than this because, in such a case, it would create a hassle rather than solve the issue in the present situation.

Even the chances of minor injuries from an airbag explosion would also increase. Thus, this specific speed range is appropriate for an airbag to deploy at the time of emergency.

Do airbags deploy at 200 mph?

If the accident’s impact is more minor, then the airbags of your car won’t explode at all. However, the inflation procedure of the vehicle’s airbags is designed so that if the car faces any severe accident, the airbags will quickly inflate at a speed of 200 mph, faster than a person can expect.

Once the airbags are inflated at a higher speed, the designed system also deflates them quickly so that the movements and vision of the people inside the car are not limited. All these methods take place in the blink of an eye.

You must know that if any front collision takes over ten mph, only then do the airbags explode. They take around 10 inches of space to inflate. Never panic when the airbags explode, as it might make the situation more problematic.

How does the vehicle make and airbag deployment decision?

The working process of the airbag is straightforward. Once the vehicle encounters an accident, the car comes to a sudden halt. However, the sudden stoppage of the car will not affect the inside objects. Your body will keep on moving unless it is halted by anything like the steering wheel or the seat belt.

The airbags fixed inside the car work with the help of sensors. If the car crashes any object at a speed above 15 to 20 mph, the sensors will send a signal to the airbags about an explosive material. This crash causes the release of any gas like argon or nitrogen into a piece of the nylon bag.

And this is the airbag that inflates to protect the travelers inside the car. The body becomes significantly slower by targeting the softened zone, causing minor damage to the body parts and head during an accident.

What should you do when airbags deploy?

Some steps are mandatory to follow once the airbag explodes.

1. Look for injuries

If you are aware of the situation, you should look for injuries in yourself after an airbag is deployed. Also, ensure that all the passengers are safe and OK. Medical attention is an essential task after the deployment of an airbag. There is no need to panic. But after the explosion of the airbag, do not drive the vehicle.

2. Turn off your car engine

Most airbags are designed so that the car engine automatically turns off in an accident and once the airbags are deployed. It is done to protect the travelers from any further accidents or any oil leaks in the car.

If in any other case, your vehicle is still running, you must turn off the engine quickly. Ensure to check the surroundings while coming out of the car because, in case of an accident on a highway, the cars will still be moving fast.

3. Examine the car

Once it is known that every traveler inside the car is fine, you must start assessing the damage. Call the police immediately to document the entire accident. Take good pictures and make a note of the events that took place. Once the cracks are assessed, contact the insurance company to move through further procedures.

4. Replace the old airbags

Replacing the airbags of a car can be very expensive. If the car crash was not severe, the automobile company could replace the older airbags, and it will damage the severity of the crash that took place.

Getting involved in an accident can be a hassle, be it bigger or smaller. Therefore, you must contact a trusted mechanic after an accident to solve the airbag-related issues.

Stages of a car crash

Three different steps are involved in a car collision.

Vehicle collision

When your vehicle gets involved in any crash, it will suddenly halt irrespective of the speed they are traveling. As the speed begins to slow down at the crash, the impact will be lesser.

Human Collision

In this method, all the members inside the car will be moving in the same direction and speed before the collision. The inertia will keep the travelers moving towards a specific point unless any object like the airbag or seatbelt stops them.

However, if the people inside the car are unrestrained, they will be stopped by any other object like the dashboard, steering wheel, or the window.

Travelers inside the vehicle can also crash within themselves and get severe injuries. People in the front seat can be hit by people sitting behind due to the force. Loose objects inside the vehicle can also cause severe damage to the people due to the power of collision.

Internal Collision

As the human and the vehicle speed lessens, the organs inside a person’s body will still be moving towards a point of impact. The internal organs will be moving unless it is stopped by other objects like the bones of the skull. Internal organs like the brain crashing against the skull can cause severe traumatic brain injuries.

Therefore, it is always advised that you should follow all the mandatory safety measures when you are traveling in a car.


The primary thing that you must follow is never panic in case of an accident. The airbag is an essential safety material that you must check before purchasing any vehicle.

They can protect you from severe injuries in case of a vehicle collision. However, airbags can also become dangerous. Therefore, you must ensure that every passenger, including you, is safe after the vehicle crash.

Once you see that every passenger is safe and pleasing, it is time to assess the damage dealt by your vehicle. Ensure that you have good evidence of the damages caused and the events so that you do not face any further hassle when repairing or claiming insurance.