Crash Video Shows the Difference Between Having Airbags and Not Having Them

No airbag crash 7 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
Airbag vs. no airbag crash testAirbag vs. no airbag crash testAirbag vs. no airbag crash testAirbag vs. no airbag crash testAirbag vs. no airbag crash testAirbag vs. no airbag crash test
Over the past few decades, our cars have gotten safer and safer, but the ironical part is that by doing so, they have also become a lot more dangerous for the older models in case of a direct, head-to-head crash.
It seems a bit selfish and self-centered to think like this, but we should all pick the car that offers us the biggest chance to walk away from a crash, whether that means having the latest safety features, large crumple zones or simply enough weight to cut through the other vehicle like it wasn't there. It's cynical, but in those situations, it's either them or us.

This is probably the partial reason for which SUVs have sold so well lately. Sitting high above the others and driving a big, heavy car gives you a sense of safety that you won't find in a sports car. However, there is a trade-off: they also don't share the same agility, so where a more nimble car could get out of trouble if the driver makes the right decision, they could prove futile in an SUV.

But while modern cars are packed with active and passive safety features, the one that increases the chances of survivability significantly is the good old airbag. In fact, the AA New Zealand says they can even halve the probability of death in an impact.

The airbags came as a logical addition to the seatbelt, which did very well to restrain the body, but left the head free to move about. And with all sorts of debris flying around in a crash, that's the last thing you want it to do.

They feel like they've been around forever, and yet there are still plenty of cars on the road everywhere in the world that don't have airbags. The video below shows the outcome of a crash with or without them, and even though we promote safety, it needs to be said the clip is a little misleading.

The two vehicles shown in the initial comparison differ in more ways than just having airbags or not. One is a utility vehicle built in 2009 by Malaysian company Proton and restricted to a few markets (including the UK, admittedly), while the other is a modern international Kia model. The two have completely different safety ratings altogether, and that can be seen in the way the former's cabin collapses. The Kia driver's chances would have been better even without the airbag, assuming you could have it removed.

That being said, we totally stand behind AA New Zealand's advice to 'always buy the safest car you can afford.' And also check all the safety-related optional extras before anything else - you won't be able to enjoy the 20" wheels from up a cloud.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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