One of your car’s most important safety features is the airbag system. When you’re involved in a moderate to severe car accident, your airbags inflate, preventing your face and chest from hitting the steering wheel and dashboard. But how severe does a collision have to be before the airbags will deploy?

You might be surprised to learn that airbags can go off at a lower speed than you think. Read on to discover what it takes to set off your airbags and what to do after one of these accidents.

How Do Airbags Work?

Before we discuss what types of collisions will set your airbags off, let’s talk some about how airbags work. Your airbags are connected to sensors placed in your front and rear bumpers that detect when your car suffers a serious impact. These sensors have two nodes that touch, and if an impact jostles them hard enough, it will pull those nodes apart, triggering your airbag.

When your sensors go off, it sparks a chemical reaction within your airbag. Your airbag will heat the sodium azide located inside it, which decomposes into sodium and nitrogen gas. This gas can inflate your airbag in as little as 1/20th of a second.

What Collisions Set Them Off?

As you might guess, there are certain types of collisions that are more likely to cause those sensors to go off. In particular, head-on and rear-end collisions tend to be the most likely to cause your airbags to deploy. The front-to-back motion of your car in these collisions triggers the sensors, setting off your airbags.

This is no accident – head-on and rear-end collisions also tend to pose the most danger of hitting your head on the steering wheel or dashboard. Your airbags inflate to protect you from that impact, reducing your risk of broken ribs, internal bleeding, serious head trauma, and so on.

How Fast Do You Have to Be Going?

So how fast do you have to be going in order for your airbags to go off in a car accident? You might be surprised to learn a collision at even ten miles per hour can set your airbags off. If you have your seatbelt on, that threshold can go up to about sixteen miles per hour.

That number may seem low, but it’s important to keep in mind how much damage even low-impact collisions can cause. Running into a wall at thirty miles per hour is the equivalent of driving off the top of a three-story building. 

What to Do After an Accident

If you’re involved in a car accident that sets off your airbags, there are a few steps you need to take right away. First and foremost, get any medical attention you need. If you’re injured or believe you may be injured, get examined by a doctor and start on a treatment plan as soon as possible.

If you can, it’s a good idea to document as much of the scene of the accident as you can. Take photos, get witness contact information, and write down your account of what happened in the accident. You’ll also need to call your insurance company and notify them of the accident.

It’s a good idea to call a personal injury lawyer as well to start work on gathering evidence to support your claim, should you wind up making one.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Your airbags can help to make a car crash much less severe, and they may deploy at lower speeds than you would expect. Your airbags can go off in a head-on or rear-end collision at as little as ten miles per hour. This will help to protect you from severe injuries.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Fort Worth, you need a strong personal injury lawyer on your side. Our attorneys will stand up for your rights and fight for full compensation in your case. Schedule a free consultation with us today to start getting the representation you deserve.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Texas

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth or Dallas and need legal help, contact our car accident lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve Tarrant County, Dallas County, and throughout Texas.

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth Office
1310 W El Paso St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
(817) 294-1900

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth Office (Secondary)
6618 Fossil Bluff Dr # 108, Fort Worth, TX 76137
(817) 631-4113

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Dallas Office
408 W Eighth St Suite 202, Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 327-8000

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Dallas Office (Secondary)
6301 Gaston Ave suite 610, Dallas, TX 75214
(469) 457-4711