Every new vehicle that comes off the assembly line is equipped with air bags. While you hope your air bags never deploy, there’s always a chance you’ll need them to protect you in an accident.

In the 30-year period spanning 1987 to 2017, frontal air bags saved more than 50,000 lives. That’s a big deal.

It’s also important to note that air bags are only helpful if you follow specific rules. Consider the following:

  • Always wear your seat belt: Air bags are not a replacement for a seat belt. Instead, they are meant to work together hand in hand to protect you in an accident. If you don’t wear your seat belt, the force of the accident could push you toward your air bag during inflation. This increases the risk of serious injury.
  • Keep your distance: As a general rule of thumb, sit a minimum of 10 inches away from the deployment point. For example, if you’re the driver, your air bag will deploy from the steering wheel.
  • Keep children in the back seat: Any child younger than the age of 12 should ride in the back seat. The impact of an air bag can cause serious injury or even death to a child. This holds true even if they’re the minimum distance away from the deployment point.
  • Know where your car’s air bags are located: All new cars are equipped with air bags, however, some have more of these than others. For instance, your car may have side impact curtain air bags to protect both the front and rear passengers. Knowing this allows you to position yourself and your passengers with safety in mind.

Just the same as seat belts, there’s no denying the fact that air bags save lives. However, they can be dangerous at times, so you need to follow the rules above. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the dealership where you purchased your vehicle or the manufacturer.

If you’re involved in an accident in which your car’s air bags deploy, be sure that your vehicle is repaired in the appropriate manner. Reusing air bags or driving without them puts your safety at risk in future accidents.