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Is an airbag the most crucial safety feature in your car?

You know that an airbag can save your life in an accident. Does that make it the most important safety device in your vehicle?

Certainly, it is very important. However, experts note that it's not the most important one. That title still goes to an even older device: The seat belt.

Ideally, in an accident, you'll benefit from both devices. However, the seat belt stands a far greater chance of reducing injuries or saving your life than the airbag on its own.

Moreover, the airbag is designed to block you from striking the hard points on the car -- like the steering wheel -- precisely at the spot automakers anticipate you'll be located thanks to the restraint of your seat belt. If you're not held in the seat properly, you could miss the airbag entirely.

Nonetheless, don't discount airbags as an important innovation. They have saved thousands of lives since they were introduced. They continue to be used on all new cars, and automakers now offer them in multiple locations -- providing side airbags, for instance, rather than just front airbags. Accidents are unpredictable, and safety devices must be designed to work in all instances.

All of the safety devices in the world don't guarantee that you'll live through a crash. Plus, even if the airbag saves your life, you could still be seriously injured in the crash and face many years of medical treatment, therapy and disability. That can lead to high medical costs, lost wages, and many other financial issues. That's why you should explore your options for compensation from the at-fault driver or others responsible for the crash.

Source: Infinity Auto, "Debunking Common Airbag Myths," accessed Sep. 14, 2017

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