How poor quality repairs affect air bag timing

Posted by Chris Medine on May 7, 2015 10:03:09 AM

Deployed Air BagWhen you are in an accident, you want to get your car repaired and get back on the road quickly, but you also want those repairs to keep you safe. Research done by I-Car and published by stopsteering.com shows how poor quality repairs affect air bag timing.

Substandard structural repair can impact the timing sequence of air bag deployment by throwing off the correct flow of crash energy through the vehicle, also known as the “Crash Pulse.” According to the article, the crash pulse takes about one tenth of a second. (See diagram)

Crash Pulse Diagram source: I-Car

“During this time, the occupants move forward. If there are no seatbelts or air bags, the occupants will hit the steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard. This normally occurs just before the car completely stops. The occupants continue to travel at the speed they were originally going and only slow down when they hit something.”

This is, of course, where injuries occur and is often referred to as “the second collision.” The effects of the second collision can be minimized through proper air bag timing. The air bag deploys between the time of the initial impact and the second collision. The diagram below demonstrates how it actually catches the driver as it deflates.

 Air Bag Diagram source: I-Car

If the air bag deploys at the right time, it cushions the occupant. If the structure of the vehicle crumples at a faster rate than the crash pulse triggers the air bag, the occupant will likely hit an inflating airbag or the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield; all of which will cause more injury than hitting a deflating air bag. In other words, if the structure is too soft, the air bag is late.

Conversely, if the vehicle is reinforced beyond pre-accident condition, it can also affect the timing of airbag deployment. In this instance an air bag would deploy too soon, meaning it would already be too deflated to effectively catch the occupant in the second collision. In other words, if the structure is too stiff, the air bag is too early. (See Diagrams)

Too SoftToo Stiff source: I-Car

This is why returning a vehicle to pre-accident condition is vital to your safety in the next crash. If you have been in an accident, a post-accident repair inspection is always a good idea to insure that your vehicle was properly repaired.

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Topics: Vehicle Preparedness

Are You Using Your Child's Car Seat Correctly?

Posted by Chris Medine on Mar 5, 2014 1:16:00 PM

proper car seat installation

Parents will go to any length to keep their child safe and healthy.  Doctor appointments, holding hands in parking lots, and car seats are all part of making sure that our little ones are well taken care of.  Unfortunately, many of us may not be doing as well as we think.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that as many as 72 percent of child restraint systems are used improperly.  Because of this, as well as children who are unrestrained, motor vehicle accidents rank as the leading cause of death among American children.

Car seats are often large and come with many hooks, latches, and straps, making the process of installing them confusing and difficult.  Although you may feel certain that you can set up your child’s seat properly, it is always best to follow instructions and double check your work before getting on the road.  In addition to installation of the car seat, knowing where to place the seat within the vehicle, whether or not it should be rear-facing, and how to position the harness are all key to ensuring safety.  Here are some tips you should follow to maximize your child’s security while in your vehicle:

  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines – Every car seat will come with an instruction manual for installation.  These will help you make sure that everything is properly in place and that no important steps have been overlooked.
  • Determine Ideal Seat Placement – Most car owner’s manuals will suggest the safest location to place your child’s car seat within the vehicle.  However, if this information is not provided, the center of the rear seat is typically ideal.  Research has shown that children in car seats have a 43 percent lower risk of injury during a crash when riding in the middle of the rear seat, as opposed to an outboard position.
  • Use Proper Positioning of Harness – The straps of your child’s car seat should fit them snuggly.  To ensure that they are not too loose, do a pinch test.  Once your child is strapped in, attempt to pinch the fabric of the straps between your fingers.  If you are able to do this, the straps are too loose.  Additionally, make sure that the harness clip is even with the armpits, and the top harness is in proper placement at shoulder level.  Car seats typically have three slots so that you can adjust the height level of the shoulder straps as your child grows.  It is important to make sure these are neither too high nor too low.
  • Do Not Switch to Forward-Facing Too Soon – Many parents mistakenly turn their child’s car seat around too soon.  Rear-facing is the safest riding position for infants, and they should remain that way until they are 18-months, or reach both the height and weight requirements for forward-facing as determined by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Ensure the Car Seat is Not Too Loose – Car seat inspectors report that the number one mistake parents make during installation is leaving the seat too loosely secured.  To determine if your car seat is installed tightly enough, grab it by the base and attempt to move it.  If you are able to shift the car seat by more than one inch to the left, right, or front, the restraining straps should be tightened.

Ensuring your child’s safety is a lifelong job.  Certainly the concern for keeping them well and out of harm’s way never goes away.  However, one of the most important aspects of their safety is often undertaken improperly.  Before you attempt to install or use your child’s car seat, take a few simple steps to determine that the important factors listed above are in order.  If you are ever unsure that the seat is ideally installed, you can always take your vehicle to any number of local inspection stations.  Just click here to find the one nearest you.

At Medine’s Collision Center, your safety is our number one priority.  We will make certain that your vehicle is properly repaired and roadworthy after any accident, but we want you to remember other safety factors as well.  For your family’s protection, we always recommend double checking your child’s car seat installation and using any available resources such as installation inspectors and owner’s manuals. 

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Topics: Vehicle Preparedness

Emergency Car Kit : What You Should Have [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Chris Medine on Mar 14, 2013 1:59:00 PM

Although you hope it never happens, an estimated one in four drivers will beemergency car kit involved in an auto accident throughout their lifetime. Additionally, Louisiana weather is unpredictable and can result in a situation where you find yourself stranded. Because of this, it is imperative that you are always prepared with an auto emergency kit.

Do you feel confident that your vehicle is equipped with everything that you might need in the event of an emergency? In this post, we will discuss which tools and items should be included in your auto emergency kit. 

Storing Your Auto Emergency Kit

Before we get into the details of what should be included in your auto emergency kit, we should discuss its storage. Although your first thought may be to keep it in your trunk, this is not the wisest option.

Consider that in the event of a truly severe accident, you may find yourself trapped inside of your vehicle and unable to access your kit. Along those same lines, your auto emergency kit should be securely closed at all times. Throwing a few items into a loose box or bag could result in its contents being scattered all about your car and under your seats in the event of an accident.

Choosing Items for Your Auto Emergency Kit

Whether you're buying your auto emergency kit or making your own, here are some of the items which should be included:

  • Emergency Car KitFirst Aid Kit - The most obvious item that should be included in your emergency pack is a First Aid Kit. In the event of minor injuries sustained in an auto accident, it is important that you are able to disinfect any open wounds, stop any bleeding, apply a cold compress to prevent swelling, etc. 
  • Fire Extinguisher - Small, portable fire extinguishers are available for vehicles. Be sure to select an extinguisher that is rated for class A (ordinary combustibles), B (flammable liquids), and C (energized electrical) fires in order to cover your bases. Stopping a small fire in its early stages can prevent a serious disaster.
  • Window Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter - You can buy these tools separately, or you can purchase an all-in-one option for the sake of convenience and space.  If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to escape your car quickly but simply unbuckling your seatbelt or opening your door is not an option, this device can be a life-saver. 
  • Flashlight & Extra Batteries - Don't count on your dome light in the event of an emergency. It's wise to always have a flashlight on hand so that you can see what you're doing.
  • Road Flares or Reflective Triangles - The more attention that you can draw to yourself, the easier it will be for you to be found by emergency responders and/or passing vehicles who can help. Plus, road flares or reflective triangles can keep you safe on a dark road where you might otherwise be hit.
  • Foam Tire Sealant - In the event of a small tire puncture or other minimal damage, foam tire sealant can work in a pinch to at least get you to the next town so that you won't be stranded on a dark highway.
  • Jumper Cables - If your car is stalled and another car stops to help, it won't do you much good if neither of you has any jumper cables. It's always smart to keep them on hand. 
  • Gloves - Attempting to get out of a vehicle when there is shattered glass is dangerous. Keep a pair of gloves on hand to help protect yourself against cuts.
  • Water - Keeping water in your auto emergency kit is useful in cleaning wounds and in surviving, should you be stranded or required to wait some time before emergency responders can arrive to help.
  • Non-Perishable Food - Keep some granola bars or other non-perishable food items in your vehicle in the event that you become stranded.

When it comes to your safety, don't leave anything to chance.  Medine's Collision Center sees the results of unfortunate auto accidents daily and understands the importance of being prepared in the event of an emergency.  You can drive safely and confidently with the knowledge that Medine's is here to help get you and your vehicle back on the road.

We would love to hear from you if you have any additional items that you think should be included in our emergency car kit!! Feel free to post in the comments section below!

Medine's wants everyone to be educated about what should be kept in your vehicle in the unfortunate event of an accident, and we would also like for everyone to read our 7 Saftey Tips For Driving In The Rain.  Please, feel free to click the button below and we will send a file to your inbox.  It's free and great to share with your loved ones for their safety as well.  

 

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Topics: Vehicle Preparedness