Side impact crashes at intersections account for approximately 22% of all major crash types where people are killed or seriously injured. Recent studies estimate that head protecting airbags can reduce driver deaths in the event of a side impact crash by close to 40%.
Side curtain airbags are manufactured much like traditional airbags. The key elements are fabric, usually coated with a lubricating powder, a gas inflator and sensor module. The major differences between side curtain and traditional airbags are size and structure. Side curtain airbags require more fabric because they are flat, which results in a larger surface area. They are designed as a series of chamber to increase the ability to resist impact. Separate chambers also allow the vehicle's crash sensors to evaluate the strikes impact and send gas only where it's needed so that the curtain inflates and deflates quickly.
If the curtain airbag deploys you will need to replace it with a new side airbag as airbags cannot be reused.