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Air bag safety

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Air bag safety

Air bag safety

Air bags save thous ands of lives each year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In frontal crashes, air bags reduce deaths among drivers by about 30 percent and among passengers by 27 percent.

Air Bag Safety

Air bags, however, can be dangerous. If small children sit unbelted in the front seat, they can be catapulted into the path of a deploying air bag, which inflates with great force. This risk also applies to small adults—who must sit close to the steering wheel in order to reach the pedals—pregnant women and the elderly. Infants in rear-facing safety seats on the passenger side can be severely injured because their heads are in the direct path of an inflating air bag. If your airbag is stolen or it deploys, you must get a new one, but you will be reimbursed under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.

Preventing air bag injuries

Drivers should have all children sit in the backseat wearing a safety belt. Infants should be placed in rear-facing car seats and put in the backseat. Small adults should move the seat back so that their breastbone is at least 10 inches from the air bag cover.

If this is not possible, air bag switches can be installed so that the vehicle owner has the option of turning the bag off or on, depending on the situation. In January 1998, NHTSA allowed auto dealers and repair shops to begin installing air bag cut-off switches. Before the switch can be installed, vehicle owners must complete a four-step process:

  1. Obtain an information brochure and request form from NHTSA, dealerships or repair shops
  2. Return the form to NHTSA
  3. Receive authorization from NHTSA after it reviews the case
  4. Take the vehicle to the service shop along with the authorization from NHTSA which certifies that the owner has read the brochure and met one of the four eligibility classifications:
    1. Rear-facing infant seat can be in the front (necessary if the vehicle has no back-seat)
    2. Driver’s seat cannot be adjusted to keep more than 10 inches between the driver and the steering wheel
    3. Putting a child 12 or under in the front seat can not be avoided
    4. Having a medical condition that puts them at risk of injury when an air bag deploys.

Source: Insurance Information Institute; www.iii.org

What to do when your vehicle breaks down

 

What to do when your vehicle breaks down

Follow some of these steps if your vehicle breaks down, and take extra precaution if you are in a busy intersection or on a highway.

Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

  1. Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you’ve been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.
  2. If you can’t drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. St anding outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.
  3. Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!
  4. In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair – even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety. Tips provided by the Insurance Information Institute, Inc. (http://www.insurance.info)

Source: Insurance Information Institute; www.iii.org

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