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External airbags and their projected role in side collisions

Side collisions can be some of the most dangerous auto accidents on New Jersey roads. However, the ZF Group is developing a new safety feature that could reduce the severity of vehicle occupant injuries in such crashes. The feature is a predictive system linked to external airbags on both sides of a vehicle.

These external airbags are meant to act as an added crumple zone that can absorb the shock of a crash. The technology is still in development, so there are still challenges in regard to sensing an impending crash and deploying the airbags at the right time. Another potential issue is an airbag deploying at an unnecessary time.

ZF intends to use the latest advances in lidar, radar, ultrasonics and camera technology to overcome these challenges. Its external airbags are approximately 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide; although, these dimensions will vary with each vehicle. Considering its size and weight (around 13 pounds), it has an impressive reaction time of 15 milliseconds. Steering wheel airbags inflate in a similar time.

Current predictive systems can already tighten the seatbelt or adjust the vehicle's suspension, but nothing so drastic as deploying external airbags. As with self-driving cars, external airbags will likely not be introduced to the public anytime soon.

The best way to prevent most car accidents is for drivers to be safety-minded and not negligent. The victim of negligence could file a personal injury claim, but auto insurance companies are often aggressive in denying payment. This is why it's important to hire a lawyer. Third parties could gather evidence, such as the police report and phone records, and build up the case before the lawyer proceeds to negotiations. As a last resort, the lawyer could prepare for litigation.

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