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The Impact of Side Airbags

How the past and present of car safety will affect the future.

Providing protection for vehicle occupants in side impact collisions presents a challenge to vehicle engineers. Compared with frontal impacts, there is a relatively shallow crumple zone for deformation between the occupants and the closest vehicle side-structure. A stiff side and roof structure combine to protect the occupant from injury by maintaining survival space and dissipating the force of the collision away from the occupant. Safety cage designs, such as those used by Volvo, Mercedes and Subaru for decades, are at the forefront of side impact occupant protection.

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