Hyundai's new airbag system aims to protect in secondary collisions

January 23, 2019

Hyundai on Monday revealed its new multi-collision airbag system, which aims to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of a secondary impact.

Secondary crashes are collisions that occur after the initial impact. For instance, if a driver sideswipes another vehicle and the impact is not great enough to deploy the airbags, the multi-collision system remains active in the case of a second impact. Say, if the driver's vehicle then slides and collides with another vehicle, tree, or light post. The airbags will deploy in these cases and the system takes into account the driver and passengers' positions. More often than not, occupants are not sitting in standard positions.

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Hyundai said it recalibrated the collision intensity required for deployment, which keeps the airbags on guard for a secondary impact. They will deploy quicker than standard systems with initial impact airbags, according to the automaker, and the system provides an added safety buffer when occupants are most vulnerable to injuries following the first impact.

The airbags will deploy even after an initial impact if it was not a great enough force to deploy them originally.

According to data from The National Automotive Sampling System and Crashworthiness Data System, three in ten car crashes involve a secondary impact. 

Secondary impacts are more common than most think, and we're often trained to highlight the effects of a single impact. However, the type of crash is no stranger to public roads. The NASS showed the leading-type of multi-collision crash is when a vehicle crosses over the center line. Other instances where drivers are involved in these types of crashes include sudden stops at toll booths, wrecks on a highway median, and swiping a poll or tree.

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