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Side crash injuries 40 percent less severe with external airbags

Mississippi residents who keep up with advances in car safety tech may be aware of external airbags. While other systems that predict crashes will tighten seatbelts or adjust the suspension, the systems linked to external airbags provide a more drastic solution. However, this solution can limit the risks associated with side impact crashes.

The ZF Group has shown that external airbags mitigate the severity of side crash injuries by up to 40 percent. The car part manufacturer also has a strategy for how the airbag tech could be developed moving forward. While the benefits will encourage further development, the tech still has a long way to go before it's perfected.

ZF's external airbag model varies in its dimensions based on each vehicle's size, but it is around 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. It weighs approximately 13 pounds. Despite its size, its reaction time compares favorably with that of a steering wheel airbag, inflating in 15 milliseconds.

The airbag is meant to provide an extra crumple zone so that it absorbs the impact of a side collision. There are two challenges -- how to keep the airbags from deploying unnecessarily, and how to ensure that they deploy in time. ZF has stated that rapid advances in camera and sensor technology can effectively handle these challenges.

Side collisions often leave victims with catastrophic injuries and long-term disabilities. They could be left out of work but face mounting medical bills. By filing a claim, however, a victim could strive for compensation from the insurance company of the driver who was responsible. The process can be complicated, so hiring a lawyer is important. Legal counsel could advocate on the victim's behalf.

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