As far as we’ve come in safety-minded design, it is still shocking to hear that people—many people—believe that they only need one line of injury defense in a car accident. Many people assume that their airbag will save them if the crash was survivable anyway, but airbags are not only less effective without seatbelt use, they are far more dangerous.
“So a Lifesaving Safety Feature Becomes Dangerous When Not Paired With Another Safety Feature? I Don’t Buy It.”
It is strange to think about an airbag as dangerous when we so commonly associate it with its lifesaving purpose, but the seatbelt and airbag are a dynamic duo. Airbags are the newest “thing” in safety, sure, but they were designed with seatbelt use in mind—these safety features were quite literally made for each other.
Airbags are designed to protect a person who is wearing a seatbelt. Think of the airbag as having a “danger zone” and a “safety zone.” The danger zone extends from the airbag compartment out to about 10 inches. The safety zone starts at around the 10 inch distance mark. Within the danger zone the airbag’s quick deployment, which happens in a small fraction of a second, could cause very serious injuries.
A seatbelt acts as your guarantee that you will remain in the safety zone to receive the full and proper effect from the airbag at a safe distance. On impact, the seatbelt will not only keep you inside the passenger compartment, but it will also hold you back from entering the danger zone.
You’re Saying that My Airbag is Useless Without Wearing a Seatbelt?
While it is hard to speak in such absolutes about a feature as important as your airbag, without seatbelt use, you are at a grave disadvantage. Not only will you not receive the full protection of your airbag, but you will probably receive much more serious injuries than you would have otherwise.
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