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What are SRS Airbags and How Do They Work?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 15/04/2024

Road accidents occur for several reasons and often lead to fatalities. To reduce the impact of collisions, an efficient safety system in the car was necessary. Though seatbelts are the primary restraint system, we also find airbags in motor vehicles, which serve as supplemental restraint systems.

Airbags are designed to protect the occupants during accidents or collisions. Car manufacturers must deploy airbags, whereas the owner must purchase insurance for a four-wheeler for enhanced safety.

In this article, we will explain airbags in detail, including how they work, the types, and much more.

What are SRS Airbags and Their Functions?

An SRS airbag or supplementary restraint system protects the occupants during a collision. An airbag is a cushion or envelope that inflates during moderate to severe collisions, preventing the passengers from getting injured. While the seat belt restrains the passenger's torso, SRS airbags protect the head and chest.

Airbags are supplementary to the seatbelt and must not be used as a replacement. Seatbelts are the primary restraint system for the occupants and must be used at all times.

Different Between SRS Airbag and Normal Airbag

There is no difference in the terms SRS airbag and normal airbag as they both mean the same. SRS, or supplemental restraint system, is the system that positions the airbag in case of an accident.

Airbags are denoted as SRS on the steering wheel or dashboard of a vehicle. If the vehicle's SRS symbol flashes, it indicates a fault in the system, which you must address immediately or take to the garage.

How Does the Supplementary Restraint System Work?

The airbag works on the basis of signal received from the sensors that determine the severity of deceleration. Some of the sensors that connect with the SRS system are as follows:

  • Acceleration sensor

  • Speed sensor

  • Brake pressure sensor

  • Door pressure sensor

  • Seat occupation sensor

  • Gyroscope sensor

For the airbags to inflate and come into action, forces 20 times greater than the gravitational force are required. When a sudden deceleration is detected, the sensors send signals to the electronic control unit, which is connected to the airbag.

The following takes place when an accident is detected:

  • The central control unit sends an alert to the inflator.

  • A chemical reaction begins in the inflator, resulting in the explosion of nitrogen gas.

  • Once the airbag is filled with gas, it explodes through the panel holding it (the steering wheel or dashboard in the case of front airbags) and provides appropriate cushioning to the passenger. The airbag takes only 0.03 seconds to inflate.

  • Once the collision has passed, the airbags deflate.

What are the Different Types of SRS Airbag Car?

A car is equipped with different types of SRS airbags, which are as follows:

Driver airbags- It is located in the steering wheel to protect the driver’s head and chest.

Passenger airbags- Passenger airbags protect the passenger in the front from injury. It is located in the dashboard in the front.

Side curtain airbags- As the name suggests, the side airbags protect the passengers against impacts from the sides. Similarly, curtain airbags drop down from the ceiling to protect the head during collision.

Knee bolster airbags- These airbags are located in the lower portion to protect the kneecaps of the driver and front seat passenger.

Inflatable seatbelt airbags-They diffuse the accident force over a wider area of the passenger’s body

Other airbag types include seat cushion airbags, seat-mounted airbags, rear seat centre airbags, pedestrian airbags, and rear mirror airbags.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SRS Airbags

The primary purpose of airbags in vehicles is to reduce the severity of injuries to the driver and other passengers in case of an accident. Though the airbags have many advantages, there are some disadvantages associated with them too.

Advantages of SRS Airbags

  • Minimises the impact and risk of injury during a collision by providing adequate cushioning to the passengers.

  • It reduces the risk of fatal injuries in case of accidents and collisions.

  • Airbags provide support to the head, neck, and spine.

  • It reduces the chances of a passenger being ejected from the car.

Disadvantages of Supplemental Restraint Systems

  • Airbags contain gases like nitrogen. A defect in the SRS system can ignite gasoline and other flammable components in the vehicle, risking the lives of the passengers.

  • If the airbags do not inflate at the right time, they can cause severe injuries or death.

  • Airbags deploy at a speed of 200mph. If the passenger is too close to the deployment panel, the bag itself can lead to severe injuries or fractures.

  • The airbag's nylon fabric is coated with talcum powder, which can cause breathing issues for some passengers.

Why Car Insurance Policy is Necessary for Motor Vehicles?

Just like an SRS airbag in a car protects the passengers from injury, a car insurance policy provides financial assistance in case of accidents. If you own a vehicle, you must have insurance for a four-wheeler, as it is also mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

Moreover, a motor insurance plan also protects you in case of damage and third-party liability. With Tata AIG, you can get comprehensive coverage for your car and add several add-ons like no-claim bonus and zero depreciation cover to enhance your vehicle’s protection.

It is mandatory to have valid insurance at all times; hence, if your car insurance has expired, Tata AIG offers car insurance renewal online, which allows you to renew the policy without leaving home.


Airbags are the most crucial component of a vehicle’s safety system. The progress of the automobile industry led to the integration of various safety features in vehicles, including the SRS airbags.

Airbags function efficiently in conjunction with the seatbelts to protect passengers in case of severe collisions. Similarly, the role of vehicle insurance is significant in the post-accident scenario.

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