A Tata Tiago hatchback was recently involved in a massive crash in which it was completely mangled. The Tiago in question is said to have rear ended a truck at high speed. However, both the airbags of the car didn’t open during the crash. What gives? We explain!
First of all, the Tiago offers airbags only on the top-end XZ variant, and from the looks of it, this crashed car does look like the XZ variant thanks to the alloy wheels and the wing mirrors with integrated turn indicators that it sports. The next step is obviously identifying the factors that may have led to the airbags not deploying.
From the images, it appears that the crash was at the level of the A-pillar rather than the bumper. In impacts where cars rear end trucks or other commercial vehicles, especially ones that don’t have under-run protection, airbags typically don’t deploy. In such crashes, the A-Pillar of the car hits the rear of the truck first before the rest of the car’s front end get impacted.
This means that the car has already decelerated, and the airbag sensors do not come into play during the secondary impact, which is generally much lesser than the first impact. The pictures of the mangled Tiago indicate that the car’s front end (bumper and headlamps) have a much lower impact than the A-Pillar and the roof, again pointing to the theory that the car rear ended a truck, and that the A-Pillar took the heaviest impact, first.
While some may point out that airbags don’t open if seatbelts aren’t worn, that is not true in case of all cars. Tiago owners have reported that airbags have opened despite seatbelts not being worn, and the car owner’s manual describes something similar. Here’s a screengrab of the Tiago’s owner’s manual, which specifies the various scenarios for airbag deployment.
Now, of course, all this is based on speculation, and only a thorough investigation of the crash by trained vehicle safety engineers will reveal more about the circumstances where airbags don’t deploy in a crash.
Images courtesy GauravJaiswal