How Fast Does an Airbag Deploy? What You Need To Know

Like protection belts, airbags are set up in a vehicle to shield the occupants in situation of an incident. But how rapidly do they truly deploy? Typically, automotive airbags will deploy and cushion a crash in 15–50 milliseconds even though traveling at speeds of 100–200 miles for each hour. Airbag deployment is so quick that the process occurs in the blink of an eye.

The notion of Airbags has been around for many several years. However, the very first industrial airbags debuted in vehicles close to early 1990. They ended up launched in motor cars in a bid to reduce incident fatalities. This is simply because the rapidly velocity at which cars travel is a main lead to of mishaps all through the world. Unfortunately, airbags are still vastly misunderstood since most automobile proprietors can drive for a long time without having getting in an incident the place the airbags get deployed.

Consequently, it is crucial to know just how fast airbags can deploy to save your life in an accidental collision. Go through on to learn much more about the approach.

How Do Airbags Work?

The idea powering an airbag is fairly easy. If your automobile is included in an accident, it will screech to an nearly fast quit. However, the deceleration does not have an effect on the objects and occupants within the car. This can be attributed to inertia, which permits the entire body to carry on shifting at the earlier speed of the auto. It will proceed transferring till slowed by the steering wheel or basic safety belt. When the occupants finally end, the exact same point happens inside of their bodies, forcing their inner organs to appear to a challenging quit. This could have catastrophic hurt to human beings.

The airbags perform by utilizing “satellite sensors” set up through the vehicle to activate the inflator in a significant frontal collision. The sensors figure out the deceleration when speeds exceed 15 miles per hour. At these speeds, a signal sent to the inflator detonates a chemical blend of potassium nitrate and sodium azide. The detonation creates an inert fuel like argon or nitrogen, which speedily inflates a slender nylon bag. The nylon bag is the portion of the airbags we normally see in vehicles.

As the nylon bag inflates, it pushes through a break up in the include to stop your confront or entire body from coming into speak to with the steering wheel, dashboard, or other surfaces in front of you. When your entire body hits the comfortable influence zone, it absorbs the effect by deflating the bag through holes located at the base. This minimizes the probabilities of your head hitting a tough area.

airbag test
Image Credit: Phonlamai Photo, Shutterstock

How Fast Do Airbags Deploy?

Since the airbag deployment procedure includes detonation and chemical explosion, most individuals are of the impact that airbag deployment is more rapidly than a gunshot. In the event of a collision, the airbags want to activate before the vehicles’ seat belts reach the slack limit or the occupants get into speak to with any element of the inside surfaces. In addition, the airbag has to be fully inflated just before the driver or passengers get way too near to it, as a result minimizing serious injuries from the airbag by itself.

As before pointed out, a common airbag will deploy at speeds that range from 100–200 miles for every hour, which is like the best velocity of the Japanese Shinkansen bullet practice. Also, the airbag deployment choice is produced in only 1–50 milliseconds for frontal collisions. This is less than a 3rd of the entire accident length. Soon after obtaining effective deployment, the airbag speedily deflates. The whole approach can take around .ten seconds. Furthermore, airbags do not deploy in minimal-pace collisions. The car has to be shifting at speeds of at the very least 12–18 miles per hour.

The driver’s side airbag typically pops out of the steering wheel in 20–30 milliseconds. The passenger bag hidden inside the dashboard typically takes 30–40 milliseconds to ignite and explode. They also deploy when the angle of affect is thirty degrees on either facet of the vehicle’s route. This implies that when a vehicle is hit on the side or rolls more than, the frontal airbags will not deploy.

The skinny nylon bag inside of the airbag also has a maximum inflation pressure of five kilos for each square inch (psi) for several causes. Due to the lower force in the airbag, deceleration pace is still slower in an incident, giving the human body a lot more time to slow down. If the airbag deployed any faster than 100–200 miles per hour, it would create much more difficulties than it would remedy. The automobile would also need far more explosives to ignite and inflate the airbag. Consequently, this would improve burns or slight injuries from airbag deployment.

Image Credit: Pixel-mixer, Pixabay

When Do Airbags Deploy?

As before described, the airbag technique characteristics a sequence of sensors that are activated by the airbag handle module (ACM). Also recognized as the black box or EDR, the handle module receives readings from the gyro meter, accelerometer, and other sensory gear set up about the car.

The ACM displays the sensors for any inform-tale symptoms of feasible collisions. The ACM instantly starts recording following detecting symptoms of a vehicle crash. These indications consist of accelerations increased than is standard on a number of car areas intended to detect early indicators of a vehicle crash. The ACM will then prompt the airbags to deploy as soon as the problems that reveal a car crash are satisfied.

The technique also depends on readings from all the sensors in a car to make a deployment selection. If the system relied on one type of sensor, like the impact sensors, the airbags would deploy when it is too late to be effective. Also, if there are not ample sensors to transmit info to the ACM or the problems are established to lower, the airbags would deploy also quickly or even when a crash has not happened.

Why Don’t Airbags Deploy in Certain Collisions?

Not all automobile collisions prompt the airbag to deploy. This is simply because there are a variety of variables that determine the effective deployment of an airbag. These factors are fine-tuned by the manufacturer to make sure activation only when needed. This is probably prompted by the emphasis on minimizing airbag-associated injuries and the creation of onboard personal computers that figure out whether or not to deploy airbags in transferring vehicles. So, it’s no surprise that airbags do not deploy in all crashes, even when the occupants considered it was necessary.

airbag system warning icon
Image Credit: zkolra, Shutterstock

These elements contain the direction of the affect and velocity of the crash, characteristics of the accident, and other vehicles that could have been involved in the crash. So, the up coming time you crash into another car or strike a stationary item and the airbags do not deploy, it could be since of the pursuing reasons:

1. Minor Accidents

When a auto crash is moderate, the airbag might not deploy. The crash problem could not have warranted the deployment of airbags to shield the car’s occupants. The scenario is widespread where the seat belt may have supplied enough security soon after an incident.

2. Child Detection

Some motor automobile makers have been releasing modern features altering vehicle basic safety expectations. 1 these kinds of function is the superior frontal airbag system, which detects the presence of a youngster or a modest-bodied passenger in the front seat.

In the function of an incident, the method will not deploy an airbag if you have a little one below thirteen many years or a person less than 153 centimeters tall. Such modest-statured folks often sustain critical accidents from frontal airbag deployment. Furthermore, the airbag might are unsuccessful to deploy since there is no occupant in the entrance seat, deeming deployment unneeded.

3. Already Deployed Airbags on Second-Hand Cars

If you acquired a second-hand vehicle, probabilities are that the airbags may not deploy in circumstance of an incident. This is typically simply because the preceding proprietor may possibly not have been capable to change the airbags soon after a earlier accident. Preferably, you ought to usually substitute airbags following an accident exactly where they deployed.


Airbags are essential security elements in motor vehicles due to the fact they can safeguard you from significant accidents in situation of a car crash. As a general rule of thumb, by no means acquire any automobile without first examining whether or not it is set up with practical airbags.

Airbags can deploy at speedy speeds, often equated to the blink of an eye. It will consider 15–50 milliseconds for a auto traveling in between 100–200 miles for each hour for the airbags to deploy. Because of the fast reaction velocity, airbags can also be hazardous with the potential to scratch and bruise your face following deployment. For that reason, make sure that every occupant in the vehicle is secure even right after the incident.

At times, a totally operational airbag program may are unsuccessful to deploy due to numerous motives. If you had a seat belt strapped whilst driving or experienced a young little one in your front seat, the airbags may not deploy. They will also fail if you possess a next-hand car whose airbags were not replaced after a earlier crash.



Featured Graphic Credit rating: Maksim Vivtsaruk, Shutterstock