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how do air bags reduce injury?

asked in physics

athenabs13ohe answers:

Air bags supplement the safety belt by reducing the chance that the occupant's head and upper body will strike some part of the vehicle's interior. They also help reduce the risk of serious injury by distributing crash forces more evenly across the occupant's body.
"One recent study concluded that as many as 6,000 lives have been saved as a result of airbags."
However, the exact number of lives saved is almost impossible to calculate.

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wumpus answers:

Without an airbag, your head could hit something hard and unyielding and causing a hefty impact to a small area of your head.

With an airbag, the impact force is spread across more of your head.
And when your head hits the airbag, it compresses the air inside it, providing a cushioning effect.
This requires energy, which is therefore taken from the impact force, so the impact is less.

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Messerwisser answers:

The air-bag absorbs most of the energy in the impact that else can harm you.
It gives a "soft landing".

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