Go Back   Team-BHP > Under the Hood > Technical Stuff


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 31st March 2014, 23:49   #1
BHPian
 
dutta_d1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IIT Guwahati
Posts: 58
Thanked: 35 Times
Post Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

The other day, I was reading about how safety features have evolved in modern cars. However the highly acclaimed, SRS airbags seem to be somewhat controversial. While some say that it is the hallmark of modern safety feature, others say that it is merely a trade-off between injuries to some parts of the body with other.


Nevertheless, it is important to point out here itself that this thread should not be considered as anti-Airbag or anti-safety feature. Rather, we need to find safer ways to use these edge-cutting technologies to make the best out of them.


So, that being said, I recently read about one person who got his thumb ripped off as he was pressing the horn and the airbags deployed (due to a crash). This ringed the alarm bells in me . What if the airbags deploy due to a faulty sensor or something as trivial as a dog getting hit by my vehicle? It is the natural tendency to press the horn in such circumstances. Why do manufacturers place the horn exactly over the airbag? Can’t they put the horn on the spoke or maybe design the horn as a ring (Ambassadorish) so that if the airbag deploys, that part doesn’t blow off? My assumption is that the horn cover blows off at tremendous speed when the airbag deploys. Any expert views on this are welcome.


Here are a few references-

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009...o-your-thumbs/
http://business.nbcnews.com/_news/20...ving-all-wrong
http://www.specialneedsvehicles.com/...ckArticle.html



From the various articles that I read, I think we need to change our driving habits in the following ways-
  1. Do not press the horn if there is chance of imminent collision. This way, there is less chance of breaking your thumb when the airbag burst out at 300 Kmph.
  2. Ditch the 10-2 steering wheel hand position. And instead practice the 9-3 or the 8-4 position. This keeps hands clear of the airbag.
  3. Adjust the seat as far back as possible. In case of collision, your face will get some time before it hits the airbag so that the cover will be blown off and the airbag will be fully inflated.
  4. Wear seatbelts. Although this is a no-brainer, many people nowadays skip this – “I have already paid for a safer car with Airbags, I do not need to wear seat-belt.”
  5. For the passenger, do not reach out to the dashboard in case of sensing impending collision. Instead practice bracing yourself with arms covering the face and head. This one might be difficult as the aam-junta has the natural tendency to extend their arms and hold the dashboard if they sense any danger (however minor).
  6. Most stupid mistakeDo not carry child on lap or make the child stand near the dashboard while driving. In case of airbag deployment, it will be an instant catastrophe.
dutta_d1 is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 00:58   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Soumyajit9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: 10010
Posts: 1,501
Thanked: 1,665 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
Adjust the seat as far back as possible. In case of collision, your face will get some time before it hits the airbag so that the cover will be blown off and the airbag will be fully inflated.
Good article.
I don't own a car with Airbags. So I can't very well share any experience.

However, one point from your post seems incorrect to me and I would like to highlight it for benefit of our readers.

The seat should not be adjusted as far back as possible. The seat should be adjusted as per the position below.

More reading about correct seating posture and holding of steering can be found in our own Team-BHP threads HERE (Things they don’t teach you at an Indian driving school).

Name:  steering20how20far.jpg
Views: 1958
Size:  53.1 KB

Quote:
A good way of judging the correct position is to lay your arm straight out over the wheel with your shoulders in their normal position. When you have done this look at what point the top of the wheel touches your arm. If you are in the correct position your wrist area is resting on the wheel. From this position steering should become far less tiring.
Soumyajit9 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 01:55   #3
BHPian
 
dutta_d1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IIT Guwahati
Posts: 58
Thanked: 35 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
However, one point from your post seems incorrect to me and I would like to highlight it for benefit of our readers.
Good point. Your point is correct. However, like I said, those points were based on the articles I read regarding the safety of Airbags.

To clarify on this, one should not hold the steering so far that it causes strain on the arms. Far back as possible obviously implies - within reasonable limits, one which enables comfortable driving without fatigue.

If the face is too near to the wheel, this might happen-
Name:  fig_11.jpg
Views: 2572
Size:  5.5 KB
Face getting slammed by the airbag cover/horn button.
dutta_d1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 02:05   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Canada / B'lore
Posts: 260
Thanked: 491 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
*SNIP*[*]Ditch the 10-2 steering wheel hand position. And instead practice the 9-3 or the 8-4 position. This keeps hands clear of the airbag.[*]Adjust the seat as far back as possible. In case of collision, your face will get some time before it hits the airbag so that the cover will be blown off and the airbag will be fully inflated.[*]Wear seatbelts. Although this is a no-brainer, many people nowadays skip this – “I have already paid for a safer car with Airbags, I do not need to wear seat-belt.”[*]For the passenger, do not reach out to the dashboard in case of sensing impending collision. Instead practice bracing yourself with arms covering the face and head. This one might be difficult as the aam-junta has the natural tendency to extend their arms and hold the dashboard if they sense any danger (however minor).[*]Most stupid mistakeDo not carry child on lap or make the child stand near the dashboard while driving. In case of airbag deployment, it will be an instant catastrophe.[/list]
The 10-2 position has been outdated for a while. Because of airbags, the officially recommended position now is 8-4.

Re. seating position, thank you Soumyajit, your recommendation is the correct method.

And Dutta_d1, re. your final point, children whose feet do not reach the ground while seated should never travel in the front - they should always be in the back seat, buckled up. Travelling with a child in the front (whether held in your hand or your lap or on the seat or standing up) is the height of stupidity, and such parents should not be permitted to breed.

Cheers
tilt is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 03:45   #5
BHPian
 
prasadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 564
Thanked: 246 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
I recently read about one person who got his thumb ripped off as he was pressing the horn and the airbags deployed (due to a crash). This ringed the alarm bells in me . What if the airbags deploy due to a faulty sensor or something as trivial as a dog getting hit by my vehicle?
And in the context of Indain women the thickness of Mangalyam or big gold jewelry plays a big role in the amount of skin burn because of airbags. I know women who have had significant scars on their neck and chest areas where they wore jewelry. Same deal with kids sleeping on the window sill in cars with side curtain airbags.

That said, with airbags and head restraints the chances of losing life reduces significantly in a head on collision. The number of people who have died because of airbags is way less than number of lives saved by airbags in the last 15 years that it has been in use. Max injury is when people do not wear seat belts (or wear them incorrectly) and airbag deploys.

Also, when pregnant women are sitting in the front seat, I get a little concerned. All the logic in the airbag deployment only has to do with weight of the occupant, and I am not sure what is done to prevent damage to the most valuable bump. I always recommended my wife to sit in the back seat when she was pregnant. Sometimes she did listen.
prasadee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 09:19   #6
BHPian
 
dutta_d1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IIT Guwahati
Posts: 58
Thanked: 35 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasadee View Post
All the logic in the airbag deployment only has to do with weight of the occupant
Don't think so this is true for all class of vehicles (read cheaper cars). Reading the mindset of Indian manufacturers, I am pretty sure the cheaper cars don't have any kind of weight sensor or even multi-stage airbags to control the burst rate.
dutta_d1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 11:05   #7
BHPian
 
prasadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 564
Thanked: 246 Times
Default re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
Don't think so this is true for all class of vehicles (read cheaper cars). Reading the mindset of Indian manufacturers, I am pretty sure the cheaper cars don't have any kind of weight sensor or even multi-stage airbags to control the burst rate.
Sure, the car I have in India i10 AT does not have any air bags, and I am not up to date on other cars sold with airbags. In my car in the US - Saab 93, when my kids sit in the front seat the "air bags off" light turns on in the dash. That is when I ask my kids to go back to the back seat. They used to do this as a test to see if they are old enough to ride in the front seat. In my car, for the airbag to turn on the weight of the occupant needs to be > ~80lbs. It is the same in my wife's car - a Mazda.

I do agree that horn needs to go through a India specific redesign - they cannot put something that is used very often on top of an explosive device

Last edited by prasadee : 1st April 2014 at 11:07.
prasadee is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 15:03   #8
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,729
Thanked: 89,220 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
While some say that it is the hallmark of modern safety feature, others say that it is merely a trade-off between injuries to some parts of the body with other.
I'd rather end up with a broken hand than a cracked skull.

Quote:
Ditch the 10-2 steering wheel hand position[/b]. And instead practice the 9-3 or the 8-4 position. This keeps hands clear of the airbag.
Just to clarify, the NHTSA and other authorities strongly recommend the 9-3 position. The only advantage that the 8-4 has is that it might lessen airbag injury, however 8-4 simply won't give you the steering control that a 9-3 will....especially in an emergency. I'm sticking with 9-3.
GTO is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 15:23   #9
BHPian
 
dutta_d1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IIT Guwahati
Posts: 58
Thanked: 35 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'd rather end up with a broken hand than a cracked skull.
I was thinking more in terms of having the cake and eating it too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
Nevertheless, it is important to point out here itself that this thread should not be considered as anti-Airbag or anti-safety feature. Rather, we need to find safer ways to use these edge-cutting technologies to make the best out of them.



But below is what concerns me. I would have felt much safer if the horn button was separately mounted on the spoke and didn't blow off with the airbag. That would be much more thumb-friendly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasadee View Post
I do agree that horn needs to go through a India specific redesign - they cannot put something that is used very often on top of an explosive device
dutta_d1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st April 2014, 19:44   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Namma Bengaluru
Posts: 1,225
Thanked: 2,060 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

While a lot is being discussed on hand position on steering and horn, I think habit of no horn should help. Its important to use horn sparingly. Once you have that habit, you will notice that you can drive without horns as well. Tata Horn, Not OK

But then, yes, you should exercise 9-3 position as its the most optimum position from many perspective. My personal habit is (although, bad) to use position 3. The other hand either rests on the center arm rest or gear stick! That just makes me feel very confident of driving and no more arms locking!

The other important observation as mentioned in first post, people react to collision possibilities by extending their hands to dashboard. That can be reduced by ensuring their seats are slightly behind driver seat level and they are BUCKLED UP always. And like @tilt said, kids on front seat standing/ freely roaming is big issue. Such parents should not be allowed to breed but you won't know that unless they have one!
abirnale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 02:39   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Canada / B'lore
Posts: 260
Thanked: 491 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

While on the subject of horns, having driven most of my life in Europe, UK, USA and Canada, horns are used sparingly in these places. When used, the purpose is usually to curse another driver for having cut you off or drifting into your lane or doing something stupid.

In fact, I do not know what the horns in my last six cars even sound like - I have never honked them even once! I curse errant drivers the low-tech way - screaming at them from the safety of my driver's seat (with my windows rolled up of course).

Cheers
tilt is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 11:38   #12
BHPian
 
dutta_d1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IIT Guwahati
Posts: 58
Thanked: 35 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

So I guess having the horn button over the airbag is not a big issue in the West. In India though, careless and inattentive drivers, persons jumping in front of your vehicle from nowhere, other vehicles not seeing you and cutting in your lane, etc. makes the horn the most used instrument in the car.

Guess the Indian manufacturers just copied the design of the steering wheel from them. Now I am worried about my
dutta_d1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 12:43   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
DerAlte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 8,076
Thanked: 2,876 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
... you should exercise 9-3 position as its the most optimum position from many perspective ...
That is the most unergonomic position of hands on the steering wheel. Whether from habit or from the fear of losing thumbs in an airbag situation. Which is an irrational thought in itself, considering it has happened to perhaps one person in millions of drivers. Or even the 1000s who have been in airbag deployment situation.

Why should you try to honk when the right action is to maneuvre to avoid frontal collision? Why were you driving so close to the vehicle in front that you didn't leave yourself space to maneuver? Sure, accidents do happen, but is there sense in changing methods that have come from the collective experience of other drivers, fearing an accident?

There is a reason why 10-2 grip is recommended is to do with how one's forearms move to rotate the steering wheel (one doesn't use upper arm or shoulders to do that). This is very important in reducing the reaction time while maneuvering away from a possible collision situation.
- With 9-3, your forearm will cause your hands to instinctively press radially towards the center of the SW, instead of creating a moment along the rim of the SW
- People who hold the SW at 8-4 are the ones who make a push-pull action while rotating the SW, i.e. push SW with right hand, pull with left hand, slide back to 8-4, repeat. That looks, and is, very awkward

With 10-2, depending on direction of turn, just one forearm can induce a SW turn of 270deg in a single movement - sufficient to turn the car substantially.

BTW, many cars, e.g. Peugeot, have the horn button on one of the stalks (turn signal or windscreen washer). That was done to reduce the tendency of honking. Europe in the 50's and 60's was as chaotic as India today, and there were a *lot* of horn-happy people. Today horn-mania is limited to, IIRC, some parts of Italy and Spain.
DerAlte is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 13:50   #14
BHPian
 
Thilak29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: KL 14 / KA 05
Posts: 384
Thanked: 345 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

Possibly, In India best place to have horns is in side stalks. See attached.
Attached Images
 
Thilak29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd April 2014, 14:09   #15
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Mumbai/Dubai
Posts: 23
Thanked: 7 Times
Default Re: Airbag Warning: Don't press hornpad before crash

I have observed many old trucks and also some Fiat taxis in India had their horn placed in the side stalk.

Also the 10-2 steering wheel position seems to be the most natural position and provides optimum vehicle control. I would prefer better control over my vehicle in any situation.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd April 2014 at 14:56. Reason: Typos
arunr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
STATUTORY WARNING - 10 Risks to know before entering this forum! SoundManiac In-Car Entertainment 86 3rd August 2017 22:32
Airbag Warning Light In Innova Lit Up: Update - Issue Resolved genesis Technical Stuff 19 27th October 2014 10:54
Why don't car manufacturers beta test their cars before launch? nukeblitz The Indian Car Scene 10 10th May 2013 14:13
Shanghai F1-Press conf. Rtech Int'l Motorsport 8 25th September 2004 00:12
STOP PRESS - NISSAN SKYLINE R35 IS HERE!!! GTO The International Automotive Scene 11 2nd March 2004 02:35


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 23:21.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks