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Will Airbags Deploy if the Car is Off?

Will Airbags Deploy if the Car is Off?

No, your car’s airbags will not deploy when the car is off.

Manufacturers equip the vehicles we drive with airbags to help keep us safe in the event of a collision. Airbags are deployed when the sensors detect a specific amount of impact in a specific area of the car, and the implementation of this safety mechanism has saved many lives since it became standard in all cars.

There are instances, however, in which airbags are not activated for a range of reasons, and one of these is when your vehicle has been off for a bit, such as in a parking lot. 


Airbags Save Lives

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) forwards a range of statistics – from a variety of sources – regarding just how effective airbags are at helping to save lives in car accidents, including:

  • Front airbags have saved an estimated 50,457 lives since 2017.
  • In front crashes, airbags decrease driver fatalities by 29 percent and decrease front-seat passenger fatalities for those who are at least 13 years old by 32 percent.
  • Side airbags have saved an estimated 2,252 people’s lives since 2012.


Airbags Can Also Cause Injuries

The immense burst of energy required to quickly inflate an airbag can lead to serious injuries for anyone who is sitting too close to the pre-deployment airbag or who is thrown too close in the course prior to deployment. This concern was more significant, however, with earlier models, and they were most closely associated with the following:

  • Low-speed crashes
  • Lack of seat belt usage
  • Improperly used child safety restraints
  • Sitting too close to the steering wheel

Today, IIHS reports that serious injuries from properly functioning airbags are rare. However, they do happen. Airbags can be defective and deploy when unnecessary, catching occupants unaware and causing serious injuries. Even safety features can cause injuries when they do not work properly.


When Your Car Is Off

Once your car is turned off, it won’t deploy your airbags because the power necessary to trip the bags is no longer available. This said, however, there can be some power left in your vehicle’s circuit for up to an hour after turning it off, and this residual power may be adequate to deploy the airbags during this time frame. 

After about an hour, however, your airbags will not deploy when your car is off, which can leave you vulnerable to parked car accidents. It’s important to note that your car doesn’t have to be running for it to be on – even having your key turned to accessory mode will do the trick for tripping the airbags. You can be sitting in your car in a parking lot and have the airbags suddenly deploy if your key is in the ignition.


When no Passenger Is Detected

Airbags don’t deploy when passengers, including the driver, are not detected in the vehicle. This means that if your car is parked and turned off – even if it is within the window in which an airbag could be deployed – your vehicle will detect an absence of passengers and, as a result, will not deploy. If you are in your car during the few minutes when power remains available, factors such as the following can interfere with the deployment of airbags:

  • There is a light passenger, such as a child, in one of the seats who doesn’t trip the sensor
  • You aren’t wearing a seat belt (for some vehicle makes)

Airbags are designed to protect the occupants of vehicles, and when there are no passengers, there’s no one to protect.


Parked Car Accidents

Once you make it to your destination and park, we tend to sound the internal all clear, but the truth is that you can be injured in a parked car accident. When you’re parked on the side of the road, the traffic all around you can reach significant speeds, and if your vehicle is struck, the impact can be considerable.

A Parking lot, on the other hand, tends to be a driving free-for-all in which far too few motorists take the rules seriously. When you’re in your car in a parking lot, another driver can back into or drive forward into your vehicle with significant force that can lead to significant injuries.


An Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Is on Your Side

The Food-O-Rama Food Truck Festival is all about fun and good times, but accidents can happen. If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured, the skilled Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law are standing by to help. We are on your side, so please don’t delay reaching out and contacting or calling us at 770-744-0890 for more information today.