Brain on Board

Your brain is your vehicles most important safety feature.

Brain on Board

Your brain is your vehicles most important safety feature.

Visual rebranding is in progress for these resources.

You are driving to work on a sunny morning. The drive takes you through a busy intersection where there is rarely a break in oncoming, left-turning traffic. Drivers wishing to turn left often end up accelerating dangerously to try to squeeze through small gaps between oncoming vehicles. As you approach the intersection heading straight, you see an oncoming car waiting to turn left. The left-turning car accelerates and attempts the turn just as you enter the intersection. You slam on the brakes but there is not enough time to stop and the front of your car hits the passenger side of the other vehicle. You feel your seatbelt tighten and hear a loud sound as the driver airbag opens. Both safety features do their job, and you are able to walk away from the crash with little more than a few bruises. You know that if you had hit the windshield or steering column, the outcome would have been much worse.

In the event of a crash, airbags offer added protection to the most vulnerable parts of the human body: the head, neck, and chest. Airbags work with the seatbelt to lessen and safely distribute the various forces that act on vehicle occupants when they are involved in a collision.


Evans, L. (2004). Traffic Safety. Bloomfield, Michigan: Science Serving Society.

Høye, A. (2010). Are airbags a dangerous safety measure? A meta-analysis of the effects of frontal airbags on driver fatalities. Accident Analysis and Prevention, vol. 42, no. 6.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (2003). In real-world crashes, side airbags with head protection are saving lives. IIHS News, Aug. 26, 2003.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (2012). About your airbags. Brochure. Web link http://www.

Pipkorn, B., Mellander, H., and Håland, Y. (2005) Car driver protection at frontal impacts up to 80km/h (50mph). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC.

Transport Canada (2001). Evaluation of the effectiveness of air bags and seat belts: estimates of lives saved among front seat occupants of light-duty vehicle involved in collisions attributable to the use of seat belts and air bags in Canada. TP 13187E.