Surviving Side-Impact Collisions: The Revolutionary Side Air Bags.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s side-impact statistics are shocking:

Side-impact crashes accounted for around twenty-seven percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the U.S. in 2009. These crashes can be particularly deadly, because the sides of vehicles have relatively little space to absorb energy and shield occupants.

In previous years, side air bags did not come standard in most vehicles though fortunately manufacturers voluntarily started to include them.

Side airbags, which today are standard on most new passenger cars, are designed to keep people from colliding with the inside of the car and with objects outside the car during a side impact. They also help by spreading impact forces over a larger area of an occupant’s body.

Side air bags are inflatable devices designed to protect your head and torso from side impact collisions and rollovers. They can be located on the side of the seat, the door or roof rails above your car’s windows.

When the side of your car is hit, sensors detect the strong impact and activate the air bags. Because a thin door is all that separates the car’s occupants from deadly impacted objects, safety engineers managed to create an air bag that can deploy in 5 or 6 milliseconds.

Deaths on U.S. roads have dropped to their lowest levels since 1949. In 2010, 32,885 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. The rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100 million miles traveled reached a low of 1.11 in 2010, compared with 3.35 in 1975.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side air bags may possibly be the most revolutionary and useful safety device available.

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