Air bags are considered an essential safety device in all new passenger vehicles. They are designed to keep your head and chest from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield in a front-end crash. It all starts with a sensor mounted in the front of the car, which inflates the air bag during a moderate to high-speed collision. The bag is filled with harmless nitrogen gas that deflates immediately after cushioning you. You may see some smoke after inflation, but this is only talc that lubricates the bag. Some vehicles are equipped with both driver and passenger air bags. Other models also have them in the side doors. Although your car may have several air bags, safety belts must also be worn to provide maximum protection. Air bags may cause adults some minor abrasions when they deploy, but these are mild in comparison to the serious injuries or fatalities possible in automobile accidents. Small children are a different story. Since air bags are designed for adults, all kids under 12 (twelve) should ride in the back seat. The costs associated with replacing air bags after they've deployed vary among manufacturers. Replacement is usually covered under collision insurance. For more information about air bags, consult your owner's manual or speak with an auto dealer.
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