Ford has introduced an array of safety technology in the past few years including hands free SYNC, blind spot monitoring (B.L.I.S.), Rear View Camera, Collision Warning, and Lane-Keeping technology. One feature on the forefront of this charge is Ford’s Rear Inflatable Seat Belts, currently being offered in the Fusion, Explorer, and Flex.
How do they work?
Inflatable seat belts function as a standard seat belt in normal everyday use and deploy when the vehicle crash sensing system detects an impact. Each seat belt’s tubular airbag inflates with cold compressed gas that flows through a specially designed buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat. After the belt’s accordion-folded airbag breaks through the belt fabric, it fills with air, expanding across the occupant’s body.
Why do they work?
When I first saw the images of the inflatable seat belt I wondered, “How could an airbag deploying away from a passenger help a passenger in anyway from getting hurt?” This is why I am not an engineer! Let’s say the vehicle is involved in a front impact collision. As the passengers body continues moving forward, a standard seat belt will pull back to hold the passenger in place. With a normal seat belt, all the force and pressure of the passengers chest is being distributed across the tiny width of the belt. With Ford’s inflatable seat belt, pressure is distributed across more than 5 times the area of a normal belt, reducing the risk of injury. This is crucial to children and elderly often found in the back seat, and will help reduce the chance of broken bones or damaged organs. The inflated seat belt also helps support the head and neck in a collision providing more support and less room for the head to bounce around.
Ford research also shows that the majority of consumers who have worn Ford’s inflatable belt under demonstration conditions consider it to be similar to or more comfortable than a standard seat belt. This is due to the extra padding and rounded edges of the seat belt itself.
If you’re looking to get that extra step up in safety for you children, check out the Explorer, Flex, or Fusion. All are available with rear inflatable seat belts and many other safety technologies to keep you and your family safe. Look for Ford to incorporate their inflatable seat belts on many new models coming out in the future as well as they look to become the safest line up available.