Ever been in a collision and have the airbag deploy?

I have been in a few wrecks in the last 25 years or so of driving, but never in a car with an airbag. Luckily they were all minor bumps and bruises.

Just wondering what it feels like to get in a hard crash, and have the airbag deploy. Did you feel yourself hit the bag? Did it hurt? Did it save your life?

Anyone who has had an “accidental” deployment (like bumping the car in front of you at 5 mph)
is also welcome to weigh in.

I don’t want a debate about airbags and children/etc, I just want to know how it feels.

I’m really interested in this too. We just bought our first new car since 1986, and for the first week I drove it, I kept feeling the urge to run it into something at a moderate speed, just to see what the airbags are like.

My mother was in a front-end collision at speeds of around 15-20 mph and the airbag didn’t go off. THe car has to be at a certain speed in order for it to be ‘armed’ I believe. Otherwise the airbag could do more damge to the driver than the collision. I have heard it is not uncommon for people to have broken noses from the airbag deploying.

That’s funny - I was about to say that an airbag probably didn’t save my life, but it might have prevented me from breaking my nose.

I had a head-on with another car, both cars going between 15 and 25 mph. I don’t recall the actual feeling of hitting the bag, but it couldn’t have been too great of an impact, as I walked away without a scratch. I was also wearing a seatbelt.

This was a '98 Ford Taurus. I wonder if it had the re-designed airbags that inflate less quickly.

We rammed an SUV with our Neon when she pulled out in front of us. We were going around 30 mph, so our airbags deployed. Honestly, I don’t remember the feeling, but I do know my husband’s glasses were thrown off his face and he had some extremely minor burns on his arms (he was driving). I got a nasty knot on my knee that might have come from the door that holds the airbag in bursting off. I felt the seatbelt cutting off my wind more than the airbag. I had a manager whose nose was broken from her airbag.

My SO and I were holidaying in the lovely USA and had a hire car with airbags. Travelling through Wyoming doing about 50mph, we came around a corner to see a dump-truck stopped on the left of the road, pointing towards us…

Just as I was thinking “hmmm… wonder why he’s stopped there?”

We looked ahead on our side of the road to see his (big) gear box and (big) drive shaft lying there. Needless to say, we hit the big lumps of cast iron at high speed, and there was amassive bang and explosion as the airbags deployed.

I was the passenger and the plastic cover from the airbag exploded onto my right thigh, bruising it for about 3 months. The airbags didn’t stop us from being hurt, as there was no stopping-impact, we just hit the stuff and kept going, but couldn’t see because of the smoke (from the airbags).

All of our belongings in the car had to be thrown out because there was no was to get rid of the smell, it was through EVERYTHING.

To cut a long story short, the car and us would have been fine without airbags.

We used to explode the defective ones in the lot at a dealership I used to work at (we couldn’t send them back to the parts undeployed). It was always an EVENT.

That shit is LOUD.

I witnessed a wreck in which a woman’s airbag deployed and broke her nose. Blood running down her face, etc. Then again, she was in good enough shape to jump out of the SUV she was driving and run around (adrenaline shock or something, I guess), so maybe it did her some good.

That’s the best I’ve got; never been in a vehicle when they deployed. For that matter, I’m currently driving the newest vehicle I’ve ever owned, and it’s an '89 pickup truck.

I was in one, my front bumper going 15 MPH into the driver’s side front quarter of a car doing about 25. I was trying to swerve out of the way, so my left hand was at 12 on the wheel. My airbag went off right into my left arm, bruising the shit out of it (my chest/head never got anywhere near the wheel) and knocking my hand off the wheel. I’m still not sure how that was supposed to help.

Here’s the kicker though, the body damage to the cars caused by the impact was in the range of a couple thousand dollars. But the damage to the cars caused by the air bag was around 5 grand.

So the air bag didn’t save anybody’s life, caused the majority of the damage AND the only injury.


I was in a dual turning lane last month when some lady obviously daydreaming driving a Neon plowed into the ass end of a 3/4 ton pick-up immediately to our left.

I turned just in enough time to see her windows shatter and her airbag deploy before my very eyes. It was quite a site to see. It looked like it stunned her more than anything, but otherwise she seemed fine.

My brother-in-law is a state trooper in upstate NY. While patrolling the Taconic Pkwy one night, he rounded a bend just as a deer jumped into the road. He hit said deer at 70+ mph, demolishing the front end. He was none too happy about having the airbag go off in his face either (apparently they’re made of some type of cordura nylon or something) but when he realized all he got out of the deal was a nasty raspberry on his chin it kind of put things in perspective.

In that instance, the air bag did save a life and the deer -uh… venison did most of the damage to the vehicle.

My wife and I had just moved to Albuquerque–first mistake–people drive like they’re from Europe. We were travelling down a road at 50 mph (posted speedlimit) when a guy with third stage Alzheimer’s who was coming from the other direction, decided he wanted to turn left.

We hit him at 50 mph. I don’t remember them going off. I remember seeing the deflated bag in front of me and thinking, “great there goes $1000” (I don’t make a lot so I’m cheap).

Well I believe it DID save my life. I walked out of there with a bruised sternum from the seatbelt and my wife had no injuries what so ever (the other guy had a broken collar bone but forgot about the accident within 3 hours). BTW, my wife was driving and she’s 5’3" and I’m 5’8". Some people say airbags are dangerous for shorter people but I’ll now take airbags every time.

The only funny thing is, we smelled the airbag for about 3 weeks after the event. It smelled like caps fron the guns we used to play with when we were kids. I don’t know if some of the propellant got absorbed into our nasal passages or it was some kind of post-traumatic stress thing.

I had mine deplay in an accident in November 2000. I did not see the bag go off or feel myself hit it. One minute I was fine, then there was a car headed right towards me, and the next minute I was staring at the deflated airbag. It did not hurt and I had nothing more than some bruises and a sore arm and back.

My car, however, was totalled.

I came out of a turn too fast in the snow and hit a telephone pole straight on. Luckily, the car was equipped with airbags. I walked away from what looked like a pretty bad wreck with a sprained thumb and nasty whiplash. I was wearing a winter jacket and am taller than average so I didn’t suffer any “airbag burns.” So three cheers for airbags!

Only had one wreck where the airbag deployed. That was back in 1991 and it burned the crap out of my arm, but thanks to it and the seatbelt I was otherwise unharmed.

LolaBaby is right about the noise. Damn thing scared me half to death when it blew up in my face.

One accident for me, painful brushburns up both arms, very loud noise. My passenger with no airbag and wasn’t wearing her seat belt was hurt less than I was.

A belated thanks for the replies, you all. I forgot about posting this question, and how quick MPSIMS posts drop to the second or third page.

Just today I was at my insurance carrier picking up a policy on an older vehicle I just bought. Strangely, the agent looked at me and said “And this vehicle is too old for airbags”, seeming like she was admonishing me.

Thanks again.