You have heard gear heads brag about their car's horsepower, handling, and modifications, but when was the last time you've heard anyone brag about their new whip's crash-worthiness?
This week, we'll be taking a look at the unsung heroes of the automotive industry. Some of this hardware could save your life in the event of a crash, while other elements are there to keep you from dinging up your paint job in the first place. That's right. This week, I'll be explaining passenger safety tech.
Seat belts and SRS: Supplemental restraint system
Seat belts are the oldest bit of passenger safety tech and are basically fabric straps that keep you from bouncing around the cabin in the event of an accident. In the earliest days of motoring, you got a two-point lap belt and padded dashboard, but in the 80s, we saw widespread use of three-point safety belts for all passengers.
Working in tandem with the modern seat-belt system is the "supplemental restraint system," which is basically a technical term for airbags. In the beginning, only the front passengers got airbags--usually located in the steering wheel and dashboard. Modern airbags are triggered by sensors in the car that measure vehicle deceleration. When a car runs into something, it decelerates at a terrific rate, triggering the system's deployment. Gasses from a small chemical explosion are captured by the nylon fabric airbag, creating a cushion of air in as little as 8/100ths of a second. I can tell you from experience that the airbag slap stings, but it's definitely softer than the steering wheel.… Read more