Can You Drive A Car With Airbags Deployed?

No one wants to get into a collision when they’re driving, but it’s good to know that there are safety precautions put in place should you ever find yourself at the heart of one. For example, airbags are positioned in front of the seats to protect you from head-on collisions. 

Knowing that airbags are there and ready to aid you, should you need them, is a great comfort to many people. Airbags are now standard practice in the United States of America, so you can be certain that your vehicle has them. 

Can You Drive a Car With Airbags Deployed

Depending on the size and make of the vehicle, there will be airbags in front of the driver and front passenger. There might also be curtain airbags near the doors that can protect you from side collisions. There also might be some airbags in the back of the car for other passengers. 

The airbags of a vehicle will be activated when the crash sensors are set off. These are installed in every car and allow the airbags to be instantly deployed on impact to keep you as safe as possible. The airbag lowers the risk of fatal injuries from occurring to you and your passengers. 

As you can see, airbags are great safety features for any vehicle. But can you drive your car after the airbags have been deployed? We’re going to find out today in this article. 

So, can you drive with deployed airbags?

There is, unfortunately, not one correct answer to this question. Some people have strong opinions on forbidding it, but others think that it’s not that big of a deal.

While we cannot give you a definitive answer to whether or not you should be driving with your airbags deployed, we can offer the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. 

It is not illegal to drive without working airbags, so technically there is nothing stopping you from doing just that. However, as you can imagine it is not the safest or best thing to do.

What type of airbags are there?

In the past, airbags were traditionally only used within the steering wheel and on the passenger’s side in the front of the car. However, as safety measures progressed more airbags have been created to secure the entire vehicle.

Airbags are now a requirement for new vehicles on the market, and you will find that even cars up to 20 years old will almost certainly be equipped with airbags. Newer vehicles might also be equipped with knee airbags, side airbags, and curtain airbags for the back passengers.

All of these airbags protect different areas of your body from collisions, no matter what angle your vehicle is hit at. If all of the airbags were to be deployed at once, you’d get maximum protection from all angles, so they’re very beneficial if you were to get into a nasty crash. 

Why shouldn’t you drive with deployed airbags?

Your airbags won’t deploy due to a small crash - the crash sensors are pretty smart in that way. They will only set off the airbags when you need the protection most. Unless the airbag in the steering wheel is deployed you will still be able to drive your car safely after the collision. 

However, there are a number of risk factors that come along with driving with your airbags deployed. For one, you could be in a state of shock after getting into a collision depending on how hard you were hit. Driving while still processing the shock could pose a threat to yourself and others around you. 

And, as you no longer have any working airbags you will not be protected should you get into another crash due to lack of concentration. This also poses a threat to your safety, as well as any passengers still in your vehicle. 

If your vehicle is still drivable and you want to make your own way from the collision site, you should take the time to sort your airbags out as soon as possible. You cannot reuse airbags so you’ll need to get to a repair shop and have them replaced. 

Before you drive off, though, deflate the airbags properly so that you have enough space around you to properly control the vehicle. Some airbags take care of this by themselves, but others require you to puncture them with a sharp object. Curtain airbags should be cut off so that you have full visibility while driving. 

Replacing deployed airbags

If the collision wasn’t your fault your insurance company should cover the cost of replacing your airbags. However, if you are the driver at fault airbag replacement can be rather expensive. The front airbags will often be replaced during the steering wheel and dashboard replacement. 

Curtain and side airbags; however, are not as simple to replace due to their size and availability. You’ll be looking at hundreds of dollars worth of airbags.

Luckily, you can replace your airbags with second-hand airbags to cut the cost a little. Just make sure that you have a trained mechanic to install them to keep you as safe as possible.  


To answer the original question, yes you can technically drive with deployed airbags. It is not illegal to do so, but it is also rather unsafe.

Airbags are positioned in vehicles for a reason and are there to keep you safe, so driving without them heightens your risk of developing serious injuries after a collision. 

The type of airbag to be deployed will alter whether you should drive with it deployed or not. For example, driving with a deployed knee airbag is much safer than driving without a front airbag.

Not to mention that the steering wheel and dashboard will become detached which can alter your range of movement. 

You can choose to have your airbags replaced or leave them deployed, although we highly recommend the former option.

However, it can be expensive to replace airbags which is why people often choose not to replace them. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative you can shop secondhand.  


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