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UNDERSTANDING YOUR VEHICLE’S
SAFETY EQUIPMENT
What every driver
and passenger
should know
THIS BOOKLET WAS PREPARED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT
SEAT BELTS, AIRBAGS, AND OTHER SAFETY EQUIPMENT IN NEWER
HONDA AND ACURA VEHICLES. PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO
READ IT, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THE MORE YOU UNDERSTAND HOW
YOUR SAFETY EQUIPMENT WORKS, THE SAFER YOU AND YOUR
PASSENGERS WILL BE. SINCE SOME EQUIPMENT MAY NOT BE IN A
SPECIFIC MODEL, BE SURE TO CONSULT YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL.
WHAT ARE YOUR RISKS?
1
DID YOU KNOW that every
12 seconds someone in the
U.S. is injured in a vehicle
crash? While some collisions
can’t be avoided, there is much
you can do to help reduce the
severity of injuries in a crash.
Your vehicle is equipped with seat belts, front
airbags, and other equipment to help protect
occupants during a crash.
The most important thing is to
always wear your seat belt. A
properly worn seat belt is your
first line of defense in all types
of collisions.
Airbags are another part
of your vehicle’s occupant
protection system, and they
can also help protect you. But
airbags are designed to work
with, not replace, seat belts.
So be sure you and any
passengers in your vehicle
always “buckle up.”
2
HOW YOU CAN BE HURT IN A FRONTAL CRASH
Frontal Collision Range
FRONTAL COLLISIONS
are the most common type
of crash, and they result in
more deaths and injuries than
side impacts, rear impacts,
and rollovers combined.
The risk of injury generally
increases with speed, but
speed itself does not cause
injuries. Instead, the main
cause of most crash injuries
is a rapid decrease in speed
when an occupant strikes hard
parts inside a vehicle.
Frontal crashes account for more than half of
all crash injuries that result in death.
To understand this concept,
it helps to remember that
people inside a car travel at
the same speed as the car. If
your car crashes into a solid
barrier at 30 mph, for example,
it will come to a stop almost
instantly. But you and anyone
else in the car will continue
moving forward at 30 mph
until you are slowed or
stopped by something.
3
In a 30-mph, head-on crash into a barrier, a vehicle
decelerates to a stop in about 1/10th of a second, less
than the blink of an eye. What happens to an occupant
during this time?
Without a seat belt or an airbag,
the occupant will continue forward
at 30 mph until they strike the
interior of the car with enough
force to cause serious injuries.
The force that would be experienced by
an unbelted driver or passenger striking
interior vehicle parts would be equal to
the force of falling out of a third-story
window onto the ground.
4
HOW YOUR VEHICLE IS DESIGNED TO HELP PROTECT YOU IN A CRASH
OVER THE YEARS, Honda
and Acura engineers have
continually found new ways
to help occupants survive the
tremendous forces that can
occur in a crash.
A strong metal frame forms a safety cage
around the occupants. Side impact bars
across the doors provide additional
protection.
Our unique ACE™ structure provides
superior energy management in frontal
crashes between differently sized vehicles.
All our vehicles have a strong
metal framework that either
completely surrounds the
occupants or, in the case of
our convertibles, provides
sturdy rollover bars. Most
also have energy-absorbing
crush zones, and many have an
ACE™ (advanced compatibility
engineering) structure to help
control crash energy in frontal
collisions between vehicles
of different sizes.
All newer Honda and Acura
cars and trucks have front and
side airbags, and all except
convertibles have side curtain
airbags as well. But you can’t
take full advantage of these
and other safety equipment
unless you and your
passengers wear seat belts
and wear them properly.
5
Crushable body parts are designed to
absorb crash energy during front and rearend collisions.
Properly positioned seat belts help restrain
occupants and keep them in position in
every type of crash.
Head restraints help protect the neck and
upper spine during rear-end crashes.
Front airbags supplement seat belts to help
protect the head and chest of the driver and
passenger in front.
Side airbags can help reduce chest injuries
to front-seat occupants during severe
side impacts.
Side curtain airbags can help protect the
heads of outboard occupants during a
side impact.
6
HOW YOUR VEHICLE IS DESIGNED TO HELP YOU AVOID A CRASH
IN ADDITION TO HELPING protect
occupants during a crash, our engineers
have devised systems to help drivers
avoid a crash.
Antilock Braking System (ABS):
Without ABS, if a driver slams on the
brakes, the wheels can lock, causing
skidding and/or a loss of steering
control. With ABS, if sensors detect
that a wheel has stopped turning, the
system automatically starts regulating
the amount of braking pressure, which
can help the driver maintain better
control, possibly allowing him to stop
in a shorter distance on wet or icy
roads, or steer away from a crash.
Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD):
The EBD system has sensors that
closely monitor individual wheel speeds
during braking. The system uses this
information to determine how much
braking pressure to deliver to each
wheel, which results in maximum
braking effectiveness under most
load conditions.
Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA): During a
turn, VSA uses various types of sensors
to determine if the front wheels are
about to plow forward and/or the rear
wheels are about to skid outward.
Depending on the situation, VSA can
regulate the amount of engine power
7
and/or the amount of braking at each
wheel to help the driver maintain
traction and directional control.
Brake Assist: This system is designed
to help drivers maximize braking power
in a panic situation. Each time a vehicle
equipped with brake assist is started,
the system begins analyzing how much
time and pressure the driver normally
uses when braking. Then, if the driver
steps on the pedal harder and faster
than normal, the system will apply
maximum braking until the vehicle
comes to a stop or the driver releases
the brakes.
Collision Mitigation Braking System
(CMBS): The purpose of this system
is to prevent or reduce the severity of
a crash into the rear of a vehicle in the
lane ahead. The system uses radar to
monitor the relative distance between
the two vehicles. If the distance stays
the same or increases, the system
takes no action.
However, if the distance between the
vehicles decreases, the system will alert
the driver of the CMBS-equipped vehicle
with a beeping sound and a flashing
light. If the driver fails to slow down, the
system will tug on the driver’s seat belt
and begin light braking. Should the
driver still fail to slow down, the
system will tighten both front seat
belts and brake very hard. Also, if
the distance between the vehicles
decreases too rapidly, the system will
immediately apply maximum braking
while alerting the driver and tightening
the front seat belts.
8
HOW SEAT BELTS & AIRBAGS CAN HELP PROTECT YOU IN A FRONTAL CRASH
IF YOU EVER have a frontal
Front Airbag
Sensors
Driver’s Airbag
Module
Passenger’s
Airbag Module
crash with another vehicle or a
solid object, such as a concrete
wall or bridge support, sensors
will detect the vehicle’s sudden
deceleration and send that
information to the control unit.
Control Unit
If the rate of slowing is high
enough, the control unit will
signal tensioners to instantly
tighten the front seat belts. At
the same time, the control unit
will signal inflators in the front
A sophisticated electronic system monitors
all airbag systems and the front seat belts
whenever the ignition switch is in the ON
position. An indicator alerts the driver if a
possible problem is detected.
airbag modules to ignite and
fill the bags with nitrogen, a
harmless gas.
While the seat belt (your
primary restraint) keeps you
connected to the seat, the front
airbag (your supplementary
restraint) helps slows down
your forward movement and
reduces the risk of your head
and chest directly striking hard
interior parts.
9
In a moderate-to-severe frontal crash, the seat
belts lock to restrain the occupants, and
tensioners tighten the front seat belts.
Front airbags help slow occupants’ forward
movement and have been proven very helpful
in reducing serious head and chest injuries.
Front airbags inflate and deflate in a fraction
of a second, so fast that many people do not
realize their airbag deployed until they see it
in front of them.
10
DUAL-STAGE, DUAL-THRESHOLD, ADVANCED FRONT AIRBAGS
SINCE THE FIRST AIRBAGS were
installed in the 1980s, front airbags
have been greatly improved. Instead
of operating exactly the same in any
frontal crash, they now function
differently, depending on: (1) the
severity of the crash, (2) whether an
occupant is belted or not, (3) how far
the driver is seated from the steering
wheel, and (4) the presence and size
of a passenger riding in front.
Dual-Stage Airbags: To tailor front
airbag deployment to the severity of
a crash, airbag modules now have two
inflators instead of one. In a severe
crash, the two ignite together for the
fastest protection. In a less severe
crash, they ignite sequentially for a
longer and less forceful deployment.
Dual-Threshold Airbags: Front airbags
have always been intended as a
supplementary restraint system (SRS),
to augment an occupant’s primary
restraint—the seat belt. Since an
unbelted occupant needs extra
protection, their airbag will inflate at
full force and in a less severe collision
than if they were wearing their seat belt.
11
Advanced Airbags: Both front airbags
now have “advanced” features. To
help prevent airbag-caused injuries
to shorter drivers, the driver’s bag will
inflate with the least force necessary—
even in a severe collision—if the
driver is seated closer to the airbag
than recommended.
To prevent airbag-caused injuries to
infants and small children improperly
placed in front, if sensors detect the
weight on the seat is about the weight
of an infant or small child in a child
safety seat, the passenger’s front
airbag will automatically shut off.
If the driver’s seat position sensor detects a driver
is closer to the steering wheel than recommended,
the airbag will inflate with the least force possible.
If sensors detect up to about 67 lbs (the weight of
an infant or small child) on the front passenger’s
seat, the airbag will automatically turn off.
12
WHEN FRONT AIRBAGS CAN HELP PROTECT YOU
FROM THE FIRST TIME airbags
were installed in passenger vehicles,
front airbags have had a very simple but
important role: To reduce the severity
of head and chest injuries that can occur
to a driver and front-seat passenger in
a moderate-to-severe frontal collision.
Front airbags can also help protect the heads
and chests of front seat occupants if a vehicle
crashes into a large stationary object.
A frontal collision can be either head-on
or angled between two vehicles, or
when a vehicle crashes into a stationary
object, such as a concrete wall.
Front airbags are designed to supplement
the restraint provided by seat belts in a
moderate-to-severe frontal collision with
another vehicle.
WHEN FRONT AIRBAGS CANNOT HELP
FRONT AIRBAGS cannot be
helpful, and should not deploy, in
the following situations:
Minor Frontal Crashes: Front airbags
were designed to supplement seat
belts and help save lives, not to prevent
minor scrapes, or even broken bones,
that might occur during a less than
moderate-to-severe frontal crash.
Side Impacts: Side airbags and side
curtain airbags have been specifically
designed to help reduce the severity
of injuries that can occur during a
moderate-to-severe side impact.
Rear Impacts: Head restraints and
seat belts are your best protection
during a rear impact. Front airbags
cannot provide any significant
protection and are not designed
to deploy in such collisions.
13
Rollovers: Seat belts, side airbags,
and side curtain airbags offer the best
protection in a rollover. Because front
airbags could provide little if any
protection, they are not designed
to deploy during a rollover.
14
HOW SIDE AIRBAGS & SIDE CURTAIN AIRBAGS HELP PROTECT YOU
Side-Impact Ranges
Control Unit &
Rollover Sensor
(on some models)
Side-Impact
Sensors
Side Airbags
Side-Impact
Sensors
Side Curtain
Airbags
On average, side impacts account for about onefourth of all crash fatalities.
Side Airbags: During a side
impact, sensors detect
the crash and send information
to the control unit. If the impact
is severe enough, the control
unit signals the driver’s or the
front passenger’s side airbag
to instantly inflate into the
space between the door and
the occupant.
Side Curtain Airbags: In a
crash severe enough to inflate
a side airbag, the side curtain
airbag on the impact side will
also inflate. This airbag helps
prevent the heads of outboard
occupants from striking the
vehicle’s windows and
structural beams.
In some models (e.g., SUVs and
minivans), both side curtain
airbags will deploy if the
vehicle rolls over.
15
Side curtain airbags, stored above the windows, help
protect the heads of occupants seated next to them.
Side airbags are designed to help
protect a front occupant’s chest.
In certain vehicle models, both side curtain airbags
should inflate if the vehicle ever rolls over.
16
HOW YOU CAN BE HURT & WHAT CAN HELP PROTECT YOU IN A REAR-END CRASH
WHEN ONE VEHICLE
CRASHES into the rear of
another, the one in front is
suddenly accelerated forward.
Even if the impact is moderate,
an occupant in the front vehicle
can feel like their body is
pushed strongly back in the
seat. Their head may follow
with a jerking motion that can
result in painful “whiplash”
injuries to the neck and
upper spine.
Active Head
Restraints
(In some models)
Rear Impact Range
Rear impacts are rarely deadly, but they
account for about one-fourth of all nonfatal injuries.
To reduce the severity of such
injuries, all newer vehicles have
a head restraint at each seating
position. Some models even
have “active” head restraints
for the driver and a front-seat
passenger. During a moderateto-severe rear impact, an active
restraint moves up and forward
to reduce the distance between
the restraint and the
occupant’s head.
17
Adjusting a head restraint so the center is
level with the back of the occupant’s head
(or as high as possible for taller people) can
help reduce injuries during a rear impact.
In vehicles equipped with
active head restraints,
the restraint will move up
and forward a little when
enough pressure is applied
against the seat-back.
18
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHER ADULT OR TEENAGE PASSENGERS
1. Always wear a seat belt
properly, with the lap part
snug across your hips and
the shoulder part over
your shoulder and against
your chest.
2. Move the driver’s seat as
far back as possible while
still allowing good vehicle
control, and have a front
passenger adjust their seat
as far to the rear as possible.
Wearing a seat belt properly and sitting upright
helps reduce the chance of serious injuries in all
types of collisions. It also helps keep occupants
connected to the car and in the best position if
the front, side, or side curtain airbags deploy.
3. Adjust the head restraints,
if possible, so the center of
a restraint is level with the
back of the occupant’s head.
If a taller person cannot raise
the restraint that high, it
should be raised to the
highest position.
4. Sit up straight with the
seat-back upright, and
maintain this position
throughout a ride.
HOW TO PROTECT INFANTS WHO RIDE IN YOUR CAR
FROM BIRTH until about
Never install a rear-facing child seat in the front seat. In a
severe frontal collision, or if the passenger’s front airbag
deploys, the child could be killed or seriously injured.
one year of age, an infant
should be restrained in a rearfacing, reclining child seat that
is properly secured in a rear
seating position. Never place
an infant in the front. Even
if the advanced front airbag
system turns the front
passenger’s airbag off, a rear
seating position is far safer.
19
See your owner’s manual
and the child seat maker’s
instructions for how to
properly install a child seat.
And remember, it’s also very
important to make sure the
infant is properly secured in
the safety seat.
20
HOW TO PROTECT OLDER CHILDREN WHO RIDE IN YOUR CAR
THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY
Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) and all car makers
strongly recommend that
children age 12 and under ride
properly restrained in a back
seat, not in the front.
Children age 12 and under should ride properly restrained in a back seat,
not in the front.
A child who outgrows a forwardfacing child seat should use a
booster until the child is large
enough for the seat belt to fit
properly without a booster seat.
A child who grows out
of an infant seat should be
restrained in a forward-facing
safety seat until they reach the
seat maker’s height or weight
limit. The child should then ride
on a booster seat with the seat
belt properly positioned until
the child can use the belt
without it touching the
child’s neck.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CAR’S AIRBAGS AND OTHER SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Q:
If a vehicle appears badly
damaged after a crash,
does this mean the airbags
should have deployed?
Not necessarily. It is extremely difficult
to accurately determine whether one or
more airbags should have deployed
based only on visual damage.
After a frontal crash, extensive damage
to crushable body parts often indicates
that the vehicle absorbed crash energy
and reduced the rate of deceleration to
a level where the front airbags would
not have been needed or helpful.
Side impacts, particularly when both
vehicles are moving in the same
direction, can cause widespread
superficial damage without causing
the side airbag and side curtain airbag
to deploy.
Q:
Can airbags prevent
crash injuries?
Unfortunately, no safety system or
combination of systems can provide
complete protection.
Front airbags are designed to save
lives and reduce the severity of injuries
to the heads and chests of front seat
occupants during a frontal collision.
Similarly, side airbags and side curtain
airbags are designed to reduce the
severity of injuries to occupants
seated in outboard positions during
a sufficiently severe side impact.
While airbags have proven to be
effective, they cannot prevent all
injuries. And some crashes are so
severe that they result in very serious
or fatal injuries—even when seat belts
are properly worn and the airbags work
as intended.
Q&A continues on page 22
21
22
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CAR’S AIRBAGS AND OTHER SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Q:
What makes the Passenger
Airbag Off indicator come on?
Front airbags are designed to help
protect adult and teenage occupants,
not infants or small children. To do its
job, the passenger’s front airbag must
inflate quickly and with a force that
can kill or seriously injure an infant or
small child.
Because of these risks, if sensors
detect up to about 67 pounds—the
approximate weight of an infant or child
and their safety seat—the control unit
automatically shuts the airbag off,
and the Passenger Airbag Off indicator
comes on.
Of course, since the system can’t
actually “know” what is on the front
passenger’s seat, placing a package or
other object can also make the indicator
come on. In addition, if weight on the
seat is close to the upper or lower
threshold, the indicator may flicker on
and off.
If the indicator comes on without any
person or object on the seat, have the
vehicle checked as soon as possible.
Q:
Why does an indicator
sometimes come on saying
Side Airbag Off?
Your vehicle has a side airbag cutoff
system in the front passenger’s seat.
(The system is sometimes referred to as
the Occupant Position Detection System,
or OPDS. ) This system can determine
whether a child or short adult may be
23
riding in the seat, and whether the
passenger is sitting upright or has
leaned sideways into the side airbag’s
deployment path.
To prevent the side airbag from
deploying and possibly injuring the
occupant, the system automatically
turns the side airbag off. When the
passenger returns to a correct upright
position, the control unit turns the side
airbag on again.
Q:
What’s the best way to secure a
child safety seat to a vehicle—
with a seat belt or with LATCH?
Tests have shown that a child seat is
equally secure if it has been properly
installed with a seat belt or using a
relatively new system called Lower
Anchors and Tethers for Children
(LATCH). The key word, of course,
is “properly.”
Most parents, grandparents, and other
caregivers find it is easier to use LATCH.
But it’s very important to make sure
that the top tether strap on a LATCHcompatible forward-facing child seat is
always installed and tightened, and you
don’t rely on the lower anchors do all
the “work.”
Whether you use the seat belt or
the LATCH system, it's important to
carefully follow the child-seat maker’s
instructions as well as those in your
owner’s manual. And don’t forget to
give the child seat a good rocking to
make sure it is secure.
Q&A continues on page 24
24
Q:
Are there any other special tips
on protecting children who ride
in my car?
• Don’t let a child put the shoulder part
of a seat belt behind their back or
under their arm. This could cause
serious injuries in a crash.
Here’s a few:
• Using childproof door locks will prevent
a child in a back seat from opening a
door when it isn’t safe to do so.
• Locking the windows can prevent
children from playing with the controls
and accidentally hurting their own or
someone else’s fingers.
• Be sure any unused seat belt that a
child can reach is buckled, pulled
all the way out so the retractor is
activated, then fully retracted. This
will prevent a child from playing with
the belt, putting it around their neck
and possibly being strangled.
• Never, ever let a child 12 or under
ride in front.
Y0608
© Copyright 2009 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved
XXXXX
1,500.2009.xx.x
PRINTED IN USA
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