Pros And Cons Of Airbags (6 Things You Should Know)

Just like seat belts, airbags save lives, and both the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have the statistics to prove it.

However, there are always cons to everything in life, and there will always be people who are morally against what the statistics prove. So, what are the pros vs. cons when it comes to airbag safety? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Airbags In [currentyear]?

Properly belted-in drivers in front-end collisions with airbags show a 52-percent reduction in fatalities, and a 37-percent reduction in side-impact fatalities for properly belted-in individuals. However, there are some cons to airbags, such as fatalities resulting directly from the airbags alone even when an occupant is properly belted-in. 

If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of airbags, as well as other related FAQs, keep reading this article for useful facts and tips!

Airbag Pros

Statistically, there is no doubt that wearing your seatbelt properly during a collision in a vehicle with airbags gives you a greater chance to come out of an accident alive, and most likely with minor injuries as opposed to the alternative.

It has been proven that airbags can help prevent these types of vehicle accident issues:

1. Windshield And Side Window Impact

Depending on how you have your seat positioned, there’s a very good chance that during a front-end or side-impact collision, your head or body can easily hit the steering wheel, windshield, or side windows hard enough to cause serious injuries.

When airbags deploy, they can reduce the chance you’ll even make it to the steering wheel or windshield, and during side-impact accidents, your head won’t hit the side of the door/glass.

Additionally, side airbags also greatly decrease the chance of you taking any broken glass shrapnel.

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2. Dispersed Impact By Cushioning

When you hit an airbag, the impact is dispersed greatly by the cushioning of the airbag, greatly protecting your head, neck, rib cage, and spine.

Instead of hitting something solid, you’re hitting something that takes the impact and disperses the enshura of the speed the top half of your body will be moving at.

This also reduces the concerns of what happens when the seatbelt locks up on you. The airbag should reach you before your seat belt fully locks, avoiding whiplash, which could otherwise cause serious neck and spine injuries.

3. Limiting Body Movement Distance

As your body moves forward in a front-end or side-impact accident, there’s a lot of movement your body will travel. However, an airbag deploying as fast as it does meets you halfway, limiting your distance of travel overall.

This only further helps reduce the risk of injury, because even if you do get some minor injuries from the airbag, it will be less detrimental.

Airbag Cons

Although airbags have a proven reputation to save lives and prevent serious injury, they do have some cons that come along with the safety feature. Most of the cons are minor, while some of the rare cons can be major.

Let’s take a look at what some of the cons are that one might be concerned with:

1.  Severe Injury From Inflation Speed

The pure speed of which an airbag deploys at creates such a force that smaller people, especially ones who have to sit real close to the steering wheel, could face serious fractures, internal injuries, and death.

2. Talcum Powder Release

One of the unfortunate side effects of getting the airbag to deploy is the engineers use a Talcum powder. To get the nylon fabric airbag to release from the steering wheel with ease, this powder is used for quick deployment of the airbag.

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When the airbag is deployed, this powder is dispersed into the air and can be very uncomfortable to breathe and very irritating to the human skin. It has even been linked to asthma attacks and future respiratory issues.

3. Possible Fire Or Explosion Issues

The airbags deploy as a result of being filled with nitrogen, which can be dangerous to other fumes that may have aspirated from the collision.

In some rare cases, the nitrogen can ignite the explosive fumes that may have filled the cabin during an accident.

This is rare, but if it does happen, it could result in a fire or an explosion. This is why it’s best to try to exit a vehicle as soon as possible after an airbag deployment if that is a possibility.

Who Are At The Biggest Risk For Airbags?

Most people won’t see much risk when an airbag deploys other than some minor injuries, less than you would get from playing some backyard football.

However, elderly, pregnant, and smaller statured people would have bigger risks of serious injuries.

What Does It Feel Like To Get Hit By An Airbag?

It’s not a pleasant feeling to get hit by an airbag, and can be likened to being slapped in the face with a large and dense object.  Do Airbags Burn Your Skin?

If the airbags burn your skin, it’s usually on the parts of your arms and face that aren’t covered, but these burns are very minimal.

The burns are more like having rug burn, nothing that would have to be treated with more than some ornament.

Do Airbags Break Your Noise?

This can be an unfortunate side effect of a front airbag deployment, but statistics show that if an airbag broke your noise, the alternative would have been far worse.

Do Airbags Hurt?

Do Airbags Hurt?

Airbags have been known to leave bruises and burns, but nothing serious, worse would come about if the airbag weren’t to employ.

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Do Airbags Save Lives?

There is indisputable evidence that airbags reduce front-end collision fatalities by 52-percent.

Do Side Airbags Save Lives?

There are also statistics that show that side airbags save up to 37-percent more lives to front, second and third-row passengers.

At What Speeds Do Airbags Deploy?

Airbags will deploy if you hit something solid (i.e., a brick wall) at speeds of 10-12 MPH.

Do Side Airbags Make A Difference?

When you get into a side-impact accident, side airbags disperse as much of the targeted area as possible, making it less likely an occupant will feel a direct hit from the vehicle that’s hitting you.

Do Airbags Expire?

In modern vehicles, airbags are meant to last the lifetime of the vehicle as long as they do not deploy during an accident.

What Is The Biggest Risk Of Airbags?

In some very rare occasions, especially for people who decide not to wear their safety belt, death is a very rare but a real risk.

Do Airbags Deploy At 200 MPH?

Most airbags deploy at speeds of around 200 MPH, but deflate quickly to make sure you can make an emergency exit situation if needed or capable.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also see our posts on how to disable airbags, how to reset an airbag light, is a car totaled if airbags deploy, how to ship an airbag, and how long do airbags last.


While Airbags have small cons and rare problems, they are overshadowed by the positivity and insurance they can give vehicle occupants by saving their lives! 

The inventions of airbags have saved more lives than just about any other safety device the automotive industry has ever offered outside of maybe seatbelts.

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