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Most modern motor vehicles are manufactured with a driver and passenger airbag. The airbag is a safety device for the protection of the occupants of the vehicle in the event that there is a road traffic accident and has been in existence since the 1970s. The driver’s airbag is located within the steering wheel cavity.

A steering wheel airbag, which also known as an airbag cushion operates by inflating rapidly immediately there is a collision impact with another vehicle or structure or if there is a rapid and sudden deceleration. The way that the airbag protects the driver is by affording both protection and restraint during a collision event. The airbag provides a surface that absorbs the impact energy between the vehicle's driver and the steering wheel, which is the source of potentially serious injury in a head-on collision. Having provided this immediate protection, the airbag then deflates rapidly.

It is possible to fit a new steering wheel with airbag to older vehicles that were manufactured without one as a supplemental form of accident protection to the seat belt. They are available in a range of styles and sizes and represent an extremely effective and straightforward way of enhancing the safety features in an older vehicle.