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How Airbags Work | Hint: It's a Small Explosion

Airbags are designed to save lives, but because a car accident can happen in the blink of an eye, it was important to design airbags with the ability to deploy very quickly - also in the blink of an eye. To do this, the module has electronic sensors tied to a tiny explosive device. It's this device that sets off an explosion (at sufficient impact) that inflates the airbag at supersonic speed. Yes, it's basically an explosion that can save lives.

Driver Airbags, Passenger Airbags - What's the Difference?

Because the driver of a vehicle is directly behind the steering wheel, he/she is literally in the line of fire of the explosive device - this is good because unlike the passenger area, it is more likely that when the airbag is deployed it will impact the proper area of the body.

This does not mean that passenger airbags are any less important, it's just a matter of fact that drivers have a 14% lower risk of death in an accident if the car has airbags. That rate is 11% for passengers, and the difference is mainly because there have been cases of children and young adults sitting in the front passenger seat at too young an age or too small a size.
See our airbag safety page for more information on kid's and airbags.

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