As cars and other motor vehicles get faster, they become more and more dangerous to use. While this is the case, there are many different methods that manufacturers have used to help prevent harm to their consumers. These methods include: air bags, seatbelts, antilock breaking systems and many more. These three features are by far the most commonly known safety features for cars, and pretty much any new car that is manufactured will have all three of these safety features, not only because of the interest in keeping drivers safe but also the recently huge appeal to safety features and ratings for cars.
Seat Belts Seat belts are by far the most common safety feature among cars. Everyone knows what they are, been taught to always buckle up, they reduce the risk of death by around 50%, and is illegal to not be wearing one while travelling in a car. But exactly do seatbelts do? Seat belts protect drivers and passengers by strapping them into their seat. This prevents violent jerks caused by either collisions or sudden stops. The basic idea of seatbelts is that they stop you from flying out of the windshield of your car.
Why would this happen? It happens because of something called inertia. Inertia matter’s tendency to keep moving if it’s moving or keep staying still if it’s staying still, until it becomes under the influence of a force. Kind of like if you wake up in the morning felling tired, you want to go back to sleep until you force yourself to wake up. This is how inertia works. If you were traveling in a car at 60 kilometres per hour, inertia would mean that the car, and everything inside it, would want to keep moving at 60 kilometres per hour.
If the car decelerates very quickly, perhaps due to a crash, everything inside the car will still be moving at 60 kilometres per hour, but the car will be slowing down very quickly. If you were not wearing a seatbelt, you would travel forwards at 60 kilometres per hour and crash through your windshield. Since windshields are made of thick glass, crashing into it would very easily kill you at a speed like this. If you were wearing a seatbelt in a situation like this, the seatbelt acts as a force to stop you from moving forwards, greatly reducing the impact of the inertia.
The most commonly known kind of seatbelt is known as the three-point seatbelt, which can be seen on the right. The three-point seatbelt is almost always used in cars and buses. The three-point seatbelt works by having a strip of fabric not only across your hip, but also across your whole torso. The seatbelt has three points, two of them being built into the car, and the third point being where the seatbelt locks in, hence the name three-point seatbelt. Air Bags Another very common form of passenger protection is the air bag. Air bags are basically just what they’re called.
They are bags and get filled with air during a crash, preventing the driver/passenger from hitting their head onto the dashboard. Much like seat belts, they strive to decrease the impact of inertia to prevent injury, by stopping the passenger’s head from moving forward. Air bags have three components that work in unison to function correctly: the crash sensor, the inflator, and the air bag itself. The crash sensor is a device that detects the force that is equal to or greater than driving into a brick wall at 16 to 24 kilometres per hour. If this force is met, the crash sensor sends a command to the inflator.
The inflator then creates a reaction between sodium azide (NaN3) and potassium nitrate (KNO3) to create nitrogen gas (NO3). The inflator forces this gas into the airbag, cause the bag to inflate. The bag is made of a thin nylon fabric, which is folded into a compartment in both the steering wheel and the the dashboard, and most of the time the seat or door. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Many accidents are cause by brakes being applies too much, locking up the wheels and cause the car to skid. ABS tries to prevent the wheel from locking up and making the car lose control.
There are 4 components to ABS systems: speed sensors, the pump, valves and the controller. The speed sensors provide information to the controller of what speed the car is travelling at, they are usually located at the wheels. There is a valve in each of the brakes controlled by the ABS. There are three different positions that the valves can be in: the valve being open, blocking the break line and releasing pressure form the brakes. Since valves release the pressure from the brakes, there needs to be something that puts the pressure back in.
That’s there the pump come in. When a valve reduces the pressure in the brakes, the pumps are there to put the pressure back in the brake system. And finally, there is the controller. The controller is a computer placed somewhere in the car. The controller just controls how the speed sensors, the pumps and the valve operate. ABS works by detecting hen brakes are applied to hard, and begins to turn the brakes on and off by taking away and re-applying the pressure on them. This stops the wheels on the cars from locking up, and most of the time stops the car from skidding.
Courtney from Study Moose
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