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Airbags: we all see the little signs on the steering wheel, the dashboard, or the doors. Thankfully, airbags are a safety feature we’re never without in modern cars. How much do know about airbags?

When an airbag goes off, it can be painful.

Any crash that causes your airbags to go off is likely to be painful, if not from broken glass, loud noises, a sudden tight hug from your seatbelt, then from an airbag blowing up in your face. It can feel like being kicked in the face and chest by a very strong but fluffy bunny.

Airbags are meant to keep you from hitting the hardest parts of your car, like the steering wheel, dashboard, glass windows, or metal doors. But the force of hitting the airbag can cause (less serious) injuries from abrasions to broken bones.
If your airbags deploy, your car may be totalled.

Whether your car is totalled depends on the value of your car and the extent of your insurance policy. However, if your car crashed with enough force to set off the airbags, it’s likely that your car has suffered significant damage. Repairing or replacing just the dashboard and airbags can cost a few thousand dollars.

Airbags may smell smoky but there isn’t necessarily a fire.

Small explosives are used to deploy your airbags quickly. They may leave a smoky smell in the air but that doesn’t mean that your car is on fire. If you’re in an accident, the first few seconds and minutes can be disorienting.

Give yourself a moment and if your car really is on fire, focus on freeing yourself. It may be harder to get out of a car after the airbags are set off for several reasons. The body of your car may have bent, making it difficult (or impossible) to open the doors or windows. Your seatbelt might have locked into position in the accident to prevent you from moving out of your seat, and it may be tight and difficult to release.

Always have your car checked by a professional after a crash.

Fixing or replacing your airbags, or any other safety feature, is tricky business. Your safety depends on it! Whether your airbags were deployed in a crash or not, always have your car, especially airbags and computerized safety features, checked and scanned by a professional to make sure they’re functioning properly and can keep you safe.