Wearing sunglasses while driving in a car with airbags?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband recently bought his first car with a driver's side airbag. Since then he hesitates to wear his sunglasses while driving. If the airbag inflates, he does not want to receive a serious eye injury because of the metal frame, lenses, and especially the nose rests jamming into his face. Do you think his concern is justified?

TOM: Not really, Mary. We checked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and of all the airbags that have ever gone off, there have only been one or two reports of eye injuries. So statistically speaking, there really is no risk.

RAY: That's not to say that airbags don't cause some minor injuries. About a third of all deployments result in some small abrasions. That's because airbags have to inflate very quickly, in order to sneak in between your face and the steering wheel you're about to eat.

TOM: But we should stress that these injuries are really minor, considering the severity of the accidents in which the airbags deploy. And they prevent major injuries, like death and disfigurement.

RAY: So tell your husband to go ahead and wear his sunglasses, Mary. Afterall, he wasn't worried about wearing sunglasses when he DIDN"T have an airbag. And if he had had a serious accident then, and hit the steering wheel, he might have ended up with the words "Ray Ban" permanently etched into his forehead.

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