How Fast Does an Airbag Deploy?

An airbag deploys at a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour. This speed requires the bag to inflate in one-thirtieth of a second, which is far faster than the blink of a human eye.

The guidelines for the speed of airbag deployment are set by U.S. federal regulations and result from countless crash tests performed using a dummy that simulates the size of the average American male, or 165 pounds. The airbag deployment system is programmed to inflate only when the vehicle strikes a rooted object moving between 9 and 15 miles per hour, so as not to be triggered by potholes and bumps.