I don’t particularly like the writing or commentary style of John Cadogan. In my opinion, he’s sexist, rude, uses language that I don’t think is necessary or proper but in due deference to him, he’s pretty clever when it comes to the stories he writes.
This one in particular however is an important read, if you can ignore some of the words – f****d, s**t, – I’m sure you get my drift. But I suggest that you read it if you want to understand the ‘passive’ safety features in the typical late model motor car. Up to 8 airbags, up to 4 seat belt pre-tensioners and other stuff that will protect your life and your passenger’s life in the event of a serious accident.
To read the full story click on this link CADOGAN – AIR BAGS and you’ll go to the page on John’s website where you can watch a video or read the transcript.
Which brings us to personal responsibility. You’re sitting in an environment with six or eight explosive airbags, and four or more explosive seatbelt pre-tensioners. If you are out of position when they go off, they will injure you. So if you are leaning into the footwell to pick up the phone you just dropped, or reaching around to pick up the baby’s dropped bottle, those devices will hurt you.
A seatbelt pre-tensioner is more than strong enough to break your collarbone. That can puncture your lung – great way to suffer a tension pneumothorax at the roadside. And if you’re one of those dickheads who drives with the outboard hand gripping the edge of the roof, out the window (always vigilant; making sure the roof stays on), consider this:
The curtain airbag deploys down at 300 kilometres an hour. Do you really want it to hit your arm? A former colleague of mine was an intensive care paramedic in the Victorian Ambulance Service. He turned up on a T-bone car crash one day, and the driver (otherwise intact) has a broken humerus – the big bone in your upper arm – and the ball in his shoulder has been ripped out of the socket. That’s gotta hurt. It’s what happens when you drive hanging onto the roof and the curtain airbag deploys. Up to you.
A couple of other classic irresponsible moron manoeuvers: driving one-handed is especially retarded – merely from a car control perspective. But if you crash, and you’re driving with your right hand at 10 o’clock on the wheel, or your left hand at two … because, I dunno, Hollywood … then the airbag is going to deploy into your arm, which will blow your arm into your face a lot harder than you can punch yourself … and your arm will spoil the deployment and ruin the airbag’s capacity to save your life … so that’s bad.
Finally, and not to be sexist, but if you’re one of those chicks who, after a long, salty day at the beach, rides home in the passenger’s seat with her feet up on the dash, think about this. No matter how pleasant it may be to waft a pleasantly cool stream of climate control into the underlying ady parts – and, when I think about these things, it is fairly pleasant – but if you crash, you’re fucked. And not by Chris Hemsworth. By angry, outlaw bikers seeking revenge.
Resting your feet – or anything else – on or across the airbag module on the dashboard is a very bad idea. It’ll potentially smash your feet, ankles and legs into the windscreen, spoil the deployment, blow your knees into your head and maybe ‘submarine’ you into the footwell – none of which sounds particularly fun.
I guess the three critical points to remember are:
- If you crash and the airbags don’t deploy – and you walk away relatively unscathed – then the crash wasn’t severe enough to threaten your life. Instead of suing the car company, send them a note of sincere appreciation. Unless you are severely injured you simply have no grounds for complaint.
- Any time you drive, remember you are surrounded by explosive devices. This should not especially trouble you – it’s not like they were put there by ISIS. But there are responsibilities if you want to maximise your safety.
- If you one day have a real serious crash and all the hi-tech shit comes out to protect you, you won’t remember it anyway. Because our memories don’t function on that brief timeline”
In any other culture they’d call walking away from that kind of event magic, or at least miraculous – which is exactly what advanced engineering is, if you don’t understand it.
Every article I write is targeted at providing as much information for car owners and prospective car buyers.
Above anything else, Car Business is a company that provides automotive advice for car owners who don’t have access to experts. Am I an expert? I’ve been in the car business for over 38 years, and while there are areas where I’ll reach out to friends and acquaintances for advice, I’ve got a pretty good grasp of most aspects of the business. I’ve been called a lot of things in my time – Car Doctor, Car Professor or The Car Guru, but whenever someone wants some sensible advice, they call me.
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Warm regards and remember to drive carefully
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