Have you ever been air-bagged?

Personally, no and few people I know have ever had it happen.
Who has experienced this and how does it feel?

Yes. It feels like you’ve been punched in the face, it’s very disorienting. Also, some people (like myself) get what feel like flash burns from the powder that comes out.

Yes, once. I rear-ended another car in the rain.

Big, deafening bang; car cabin filled with powder and smoke, and a very strong smell of something dusty-gunpowder-ish. I was pretty disoriented for a few minutes, partly due to the collision itself, but also partly due to the airbag. Not fun.

My only memory about the air bag deploying was the dust/smoke/whatever that came with it. Since I was just in a collision, I thought there might be a fire. I jumped out of the car, calmed down, and realized it was the air bag.

Yes. Dusty and loud, and it ripped up one finger.

I saw a friend about an hour after he’d been airbagged. He even looked like he’d been punched in the face. Hard.

realize that if he’d had been in one of those big old American land barges of the '60s-'70s, he wouldn’t have looked like he’d been punched in the face.

he’d have been in a casket, and someone would be delivering his eulogy.

Yep. Got smacked in the face by one of those once, and it tore my ear, gave me a bloody nose, and a black eye. Half my face was bruised and bloody. Looked like I’d been in a fight. Also burned three fingers on my right hand.


I also thought the powder that it was packed in was smoke, and jumped out of the car, afraid to breathe in!

Loud bang, smell of burnt dust, smacked in the face with bag (and the hand that was on the wheel) hard enough to leave marks.

Better than hitting the steering wheel or windshield.

More long-term pain from the abrasions and strains from the seatbelt.

Which he freely andf gratefully acknowledged. Still looked like hell, though.

It happens very fast - I don’t think I even saw it (it doesn’t stay inflated like in the movies). I felt the punch in the face, but it was more like being hit with a balloon for me - it didn’t really hurt.

The webbing between my thumb and first finger on both hands had mild burns that went away after a couple days - I’d rate it a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 pain wise. More an annoyance than pain for me.

It happened so fast for me that there was no time to realize what was going on or to be scared - my thumbs hurt - my face hurt very slightly - and there was a deflated airbag in my car - along with the gunpowder smell and smoke (if I recall - similar in look to if someone exhaled a puff of cigarette smoke).

It is much better than the alternative and I’d gladly get air bagged again.

Side curtain airbag knocked my glasses into the back seat.

I read somewhere that airbags can cause severe damage to one’s hands, and that one way to avoid this is to hold the steering wheel in the 9 o’clock and the 3 o’clock positions, rather than at 10 o’clock and 2. However, I don’t know enough about airbags to understand why this makes a difference. Do any of you “victims” have an idea why, based on your experience?

Very fast – both front airbags went off but I don’t remember seeing them inflated. It was just a bang, smoke, and that was it. I had some soreness in both hands that was likely from the airbarg, but no bruises. I’ve always wondered what happened to drivers who drive with one hand on top of the steering wheel when the airbag goes off.

A paramedic friend has told me a couple strange things he has seen from airbags. One guy had a cigarette in his hand, the airbag jammed the lit end of the smoke into his eye. Another was finding a set of dentures on the ground. The lady that lost them was sitting in the car about 40 feet away trying to find her teeth.

For what it’s worth, here’s Cecil Adams (and Slug Signorino) on air bags.

look, even if you’re properly buckled in, you move around a LOT in a collision:

seat belts stretch, the seat frame flexes, and you flop around like the wet sack of meat you are. Airbags (especially side-curtain) are there to protect your head. It would suck to go through an otherwise-survivable collision and still be dead because your melon went bouncing off of the steering wheel and pillars.

I don’t recall the accident (although I recall seeing it coming on). I only recall just becoming aware that I could smell fireworks and that there was something in my face blocking my view.

Someone came and pried my door open and got me out because I was confused and stunned enough to just sit there in an attempt to figure out what had happened.

I had some soreness (and some bruising to my breasts, I guess from the impact of the bag)- chest, ankles, calves, hands, wrists, neck, shoulder, etc., mostly from bracing for the impact, but no burns.

I had severe bruising to my chest but not the face. I also believe the seatbelt was as bad as the airbag at causing the injuries. I also believe the airbag may have saved our lives.

I think a lot of your upper-body soreness/bruising was probably from the seat belt. but in any case, some soreness is a lot better than the alternative :slight_smile: