Have you ever been air-bagged?

LOL- the bruising was definitely from the airbag. I had bruise ‘creases’ on both breasts from them being compressed but more bruising on the left. I’m used to my breasts being in the way.

I wonder about where the airbags hit different folks. Mine seemed to have hit me about square on the sternum or upper chest, but Sarabellum1976 and DataXseem to have taken the hit to the face. I’m pretty short, just 5’3", and was in a Prius.

I know my glasses flew off but I have no idea if the airbag or the wreck caused that. They were found on the passengers side foot well and my car had been pushed across three or four lanes.

I wonder if you would be better off if you relaxed your body right before impact. And take your hands off of the wheel. Or would you risk jamming your fingers on the dashboard?

I don’t remember the moment, to be honest. I was surprised that my face escaped unscathed. The powder burns on my right arm and the mental impact were the worst parts of my accident. The bruising to my sternum and whiplash were annoying but not too bad.
My sister (front passenger) tensed up and got very bad whiplash and the rest of her muscles hurt so much she could barely move the next day but her airbag didn’t do anything to her. Her fiance (backseat - no seatbelt, no airbag, sleeping) was completely unscathed.

I once totaled a 6-month old Audi A6 Quattro Wagon. I can’t remember the hit or the airbag deploying. The only injury on my body was where the airbag hit my glasses–I had a cut on my nose. The fact that nothing else was even sore says a lot about the airbag–and a lot about the Audi.

I think the difference in how the bag hits you depends on a couple of things.
Year of the car. Early cars had more powerful bags, later cars the bags are less powerful and may also have multi stage deployments where if you are in a low speed accident, the bag is deployed at a lower force

How close you sit to the wheel. The further away from the wheel you are, the less the bag will whack you. A tall person with long arms who sits 12+" inches away from the steering wheel will hit the bag with much less force that a short person that sits 5" away from the wheel.
Some newer cars have seat track sensors that depower the bag if the seat is in the first 4" of travel.

I am pretty good about always having my hands at “10 and 2”, but I don’t have a specific memory of where they were, exactly, when the airbag went off. I suspect that my right hand was probably reflexively flying back to protect my face when it got caught by the airbag. My thumb was badly burned (covered in 2nd degree burns) my pointer finger was burned about halfway down, the last two joints, and the end of my middle finger was burned, just the last joint.

It took a very long time for the burns to totally heal, maybe 2 or 3 months. The ear was basically “skinned” on the inside, and that took a long time to heal as well.

My WAG on the “9 and 3” method causing less injuries: If you’re holding the wheel a bit further down, your thumbs are probably less likely to hang down into the airbag’s launch zone - they’re more in line with the steering wheel, if your hands are relaxed.

True about the seat belts. Mine broke one of my ribs.

Actually, the airbag in conjunction with the seatbelt is probably what saved your lives.

There was an article about 12 or 13 years ago in the New Yorker about the way that increased use of airbags in modern vehicles had also resulted in a decline in seatbelt use among some groups of people. These people apparently felt that the presence of the airbags made seatbelts unnecessary, especially at lower speeds.

The safety specialists interviewed in the article pointed out, however, that airbags work far better in conjunction with seatbelts, because the seatbelt helps to keep the person’s body in position so that it actually comes into clean contact with the fully-inflated airbag. People who don’t wear seatbelts can be thrown around more, especially by any sideways motion, and are far more likely to strike the airbag a glancing blow, or even miss it altogether, resulting in severe injury or death.

This is possibly less likely now that so many cars have ancillary airbags like side-curtain airbags, etc, but the main steering wheel airbag is still the one most likely to bear the greatest burden in a crash.

yes. also it’s less likely that the airbag will fling your arm out the side window, which could be a problem in a roll-over situation.

Yes, and my experience mirrored several others’ here: loud explosion, thick powder/dust in the air.

In my case, I had managed to slow my car somewhat prior to impact.** I hit the car ahead hard enough to deploy the airbag but not at a tremendously high speed. So I don’t recall any particular physical injuries, even mild ones. And I sit a lot closer to the steering wheel than many seem to.

Something I learned that I wasn’t aware of is that, at least according to the insurance adjuster, it costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 to install new airbags or otherwise get them functional again. My car was rather smashed in from the impact, but probably fixable. But the airbag deployment sent repair costs over the edge, so they totaled my car.
**Just for the record, because it still cheeses me off and I feel like bitching about it again years later…

It was a dark night (aren’t they all, but thick clouds overhead made it particularly dark!). Moderately heavy snow was falling, and visibility was not great. Traffic on the Interstate, which was passing through a thinly populated area, was fairly heavy.

I was traveling at a reasonable rate of speed given the conditions. When you’re at a certain distance from other cars, you can see their taillights ahead of you, but you can’t necessarily pick up on the speed of their movement.

But you reasonably assume that cars ahead of you are indeed moving. For reasons unknown, this particular car had come to a FULL STOP in the left lane of the freeway. The driver had not pulled over into the left median (despite it being a large one with ample room to do so). He just…stopped…right on the freeway…and did not put on his emergency flashers.

By the time I realized he wasn’t moving with all the rest of the traffic, it was too late, and I skidded into the back of him. Of course, I got cited, and he did not, despite pulling one of the most boneheaded and unnecessary moves I’ve ever seen a driver make.

Yes, but it wasn’t nearly as negative as many of the experiences. I was already breaking hard so I wasn’t going very fast when I hit the other car. in other words, no airbag popping out at 65mph to stop me going 65mph in the other direction. I don’t even remember if my face made contact with it. The dust from it was choking though and the most negative effect was the insurance guy saying that a deployed airbag usually moved a used car into “totaled” territory due to the cost of replacing the whole mechanism (along with the damage that caused the deployment, of course).

Edit: On reading, I could have almost just copy-pasted DChord568’s post.

I have. As others have noted, that thing is fast. I never saw it coming out–it was just there, suddenly filling the space in front of me amid a chalky cloud of dust.

But it took the entire impact of the crash for me. Apart from some bruising on my wrists where the bag shoved my hands away from the steering wheel, I had no other injuries, not even from the seatbelt.

Air bagged? Is that the term for a tea bagging a eunuch? I really shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised so many people here have experience with that.

I had a friend do this while I was in her car. No, the highway wasn’t busy, but visibility because of the snow storm was horrible. She stopped in the middle of the dam highway, got out and removed the snow/ice that was accumulating on the windshield. Scared the crap out of me and now I drive.

Three weeks ago I was going ~65 mph (the speed limit) on a four-lane highway in my little Mini Cooper convertible when a car pulled out from a side street right into traffic. I hit the car right on the driver’s door. My airbag went off, and like someone posted above, I thought the smoke meant fire and jumped out fast!

I got bruised ribs and an airbag burn on my left ring finger. I had been wearing a silver ring and thought that may have contributed to the burn.

The officer on the scene was impressed with how well the Mini Cooper protected me. The guy who pulled out was lucky I was in a small car, too. If I had been in a larger car it probably would have killed him.

Bought another MINI.

I was a passenger in a car that only had a driver’s side airbag. We slid on some ice and hit a tree. It was slow enough where I wasn’t injured but the driver looked like someone slapped her in the face as hard as they could. Her face was red, she had a bloody nose, and was very disoriented. It’s probably a rare occurrence where someone was better off for not having an airbag.

Driver’s seat and passenger’s seats are different environments. The driver has a steering wheel very close to them. The passenger does not. That makes a huge difference in a crash.

Airbags can deploy with enough force to decapitate a child, according to a depressingly horrifying news story I’m not going to look up.

I had no bag. Remember the days when the auto companies let you put a price on your passenger’s lives?

Idiot driver made a left turn in front of me as I was doing 50 mph; I had only enough time to jam on brakes, think ohshitohshitohshit! and decide it was a bad idea to try to turn out of the lane before there was sudden stop, a loud bang which pretty much drowned out the crunch of the collision, and the air was a mass of white hazy yuck; I got out as quickly as I could.

People were at our cars already, and a couple tried to tell me to take it easy, sit back down and wait for help, to which I replied no way was I going to breathe that junk, it was dangerous! My ears were ringing and sound was muted; for several days I was worried about possible hearing loss; and the smell of the explosive lingered in my nose and throat for a few hours.

An ambulance showed up surprisingly quickly and I decided it made sense to go to the hospital; realized en route that it hurt to breathe, and my hand was swelling and painful. The tiny break in my right pinky knuckle, resulting in 4 weeks in a cast and six weeks of rehab, was probably caused by the airbag. The humungous bruises on chest and hip were seatbelt rather than airbag, though it likely was responsible for the ones on shoulders; nothing facial, and no burns, abrasions or other damage. (The car was totaled, but I’d been shopping around for a newer one and got more from the insurance settlement than I would have from a trade-in.)

I’d gladly have put up with even more injury from the bag as being less than I’d’ve sustained without one, though it’s not an experience I’d care to repeat.