What happens when you blow up 16 airbags?

jubilee-ford-deploy-airbags

Well… a loud BOOM, of course. Move over, Mythbusters! Jubilee Ford’s own team of trained specialists conducted an experiment of their own.
Actually, 16 airbags that were recalled needed to be disposed of and needed to be deployed first in order to do so. Regardless, it became quite the spectacle at the dealership today as many employees and one seagull witness the events.

jubilee ford employees

Watch what happens in the video below as the airbags deployed.


Please don’t try this at home folks! Our technicians are trained for this kind of thing and all safety measures were followed (trust us, we would’ve gotten closer if we could).


16 airbags deployed

While it was originally intended that all sixteen airbags were to go off at once, five deployed the first time and the rest on the second go. We never really liked that shelving unit anyway. (It may have stubbed a few too many toes in its day.)

airbags deployed

A Brief History of Airbags

As we all know, these folded textile cushions work along with seatbelts to make us safe in a crash by slowing the occupant's motion as evenly as possible. As early as the 1960s, carmakers started to develop airbags for their vehicles). An experimental airbag fleet was developed by our very own Ford in 1971. In the 1980s, airbags became widely available commercially in automobiles.

vehicle airbag history vehicle airbag history
Source: Healthandsafety-works.com

Since the car model years 1998 (so, 1997) and 1999 for light trucks (so, 1998), all new cars in the U.S. were required to have airbags on both the driver and passenger sides (howstuffworks.com). Since then, seat-mounted and door-mounted side airbags have been installed and as many as six or eight airbags can be found in vehicles sold today.

How Airbags Work

According to Autoliv.com, there are four main parts to in an airbag module:

    • Inflator (far right)- produces gas to inflate the folded bag

    • Cushion (second right)- a thin cushion made of woven nylon or polyester fabric

    • Housing (second left)- stores the folded bag and inflator

    • Cover (far left)- opens when the cushion inflates

air bag components
Source: Autoliv.com

The passive safety electronics unit controls the airbag and seatbelt pretensioners, deciding when and if each airbag should be deployed. The passive safety electronics unit (ECU) receives information from sensors mounted inside the vehicle. Depending on a collision’s severity, the accelerometers activate the airbag by measuring deceleration of the vehicle. The exception to this deceleration rule is sudden braking or driving on rough or uneven pavement.

passive safety electronics unit
Source: Bosch-mobility-solutions.ru

Airbags and Safety

Just how effective are air bag devices in providing safety to drivers? Transport Canada calculates that between 1990 and 2000, 300 lives were saved in Canada due to airbags. This does not include the role that airbags play in preventing life-threatening head and chest injuries.


The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in their study of real-world crashes that the combination of seat belts and airbags is 66% effective in preventing serious chest injuries and 75% effective in preventing in preventing serious head injuries. While airbags have been found to cause minor injuries and up until June 2001, eight deaths (due to the fact that those were too close to the airbags when they deployed), the life saving and injury prevention benefits outweigh the risks.


How to Sit a Safe Distance from an Airbag:

According to Transport Canada, in order to make sure drivers and passengers avoid being too close to an airbag:

    • drivers should move their seat as far back while still comfortably reaching the pedals

      • try to be at least 10 inches/25 centimeters away from the airbag

    • shorter drivers who are more likely to sit closer should be especially aware and adjust their driving position

      • try reclining the seat slightly, if this makes it harder to see the road, raise yourself by raising the seat or with a cushion

      • Tilt the steering while downward slightly to point the airbag toward your chest instead of your head and neck

    • front-seat adult passengers should sit a safe distance from the air bag

    • infants and children under the age of twelve should sit in the back

    • every passenger must wear a seat belt


airbag safety
Source: Tg.gc.ca

What to do if your airbag warning light is on

If you notice that your airbag light is on, you may not be protected if you get in an accident. The airbag indicator light is a warning that your airbags, seatbelts, or ECU may not be functioning properly. If this is the case, call our service team to take a look at it!

airbag warning light
Source: Youtube.com

The moral of the story: stay safe out there on the road and maintain a safe distance from your airbags folks!

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