Car security systems are known to integrate diverse areas of the car to ensure that the car occupants are safe. One safety method which has been around for sometime is the use of the seat belt. While seat belts were seen at their advent to be quite effective in keeping the car user well latched on his seat, they have otherwise been found to be at fault, thus the introduction of the supplementary restraint system (SRS).
What is SRS?
The use of SRS has in the recent past been seen as one of the passive ways of keeping the car occupants safe. The SRS is in itself an automatic security system installed within the car engine and steering, which has a way of reading the car behaviors of speed and impacts.
It does not work in the same way as the seat belt which actively keeps the car user on the seat. However, by having this monitored, it helps bolster the other car security components and remedial actions are taken immediately some risk is detected. It is for this reason that the SRS is referred in most quarters as passive restraint system (PRS).
The SRS system uses a series of light warning systems, installed within the car to be able to monitor the important aspects pertaining to the user speed. The standard practice with the use of SRS is that the light illuminates for a short period, at least 5 seconds when the car engine is switched on. This is called testing.
With most of the cars fitted with the latest onboard diagnostic (OBD II) systems, the SRS is a good determinant on the system readiness, especially after the 5 seconds lapse. There are instances when the light may continue, a sign that the car has an impending issue to be sorted before the drive.
The SRS works with the security components of the car and its failure at times may show the failure of the operations of the seatbelts, and an overall failure of all the other security components which would protect one in case of an accident.
Why the name supplementary?
At times, the reason why some people refer to this all important security component as ‘supplementary’ is rather amazing. The supplementary inflated system as they are also referred allows the other car security systems like the seat belts to work, but only assists them in ensuring that the car driver and occupants are safe in case of any incidence of crash.
Because of the all too well-known principles of motion, the occurrence of crashes usually leave the car halted but the driver and the passengers in a state of motion, which leads to the knocking on the steering and other car components, a cause of death in many cases. The airbag strives to solve this by ensuring that the driver and the passengers are protected in such a case.
What do we have within the SRS airbag systems?
The nature of operation of the SRS system ensures that the car remains secure for the user. This aspect alone has placed the use of this system and the need for it to remain topnotch at the topmost priority areas of car use.
The key features of the SRS include;
- An illuminating light which usually monitors and ensures that the SRS system remains reliable by giving warning when not so.
- A central control system/ the diagnostic module.
- An inflator meant to send gas into the airbag on impact.
- The pyrotechnic seatbelt tightening system which is meant to ensure that the car occupants are held firmly in case of an impact.
- The clock spring connector which keeps the connection of the airbag alive.
- Several switches.
- The diverse mix of deceleration sensors (airbags) comprising of the –G sensors, the safing sensor (S sensor) steering sensors, seat belt sensors, speed sensors and angle/side sensors. Rolamite with its roll springs to detect collision and magnetic bias sensors, with a ball connected to the electrical circuit, which completes at collision causing the light to illuminate, are also additions on some of the newest models of SRS.
- The SRS black box, which is important in storing the diverse information of how the SRS system is used.
How does the SRS work?
Depending on the fault or the risk the SRS detects, the diverse sensors are put to use to be able to mitigate the chances of the car occupants getting injured. For instance, the increase in acceleration may necessitate the airbags concerned with speed to increase the levels of alertness on the seat.
The sensors which are always around the steering, monitors the movement of the car and at any impact detected triggers the airbags, which are filled by gas as fast as the impact happens to protect the head and chest of the driver from injuries. The most important part of the airbag operation is that it also deflates rather faster than the driver can realize, making the control of the car to be easier.
This happens automatically and at times the car seat posture may change in a bid to make the occupant safer in case of an accident. Because the SRS works with illuminating lights, the mere fact that the lights remain illuminating in the course of car use is a sign of disaster and calls for immediate stoppage of the vehicle.
The S-sensors and the G-sensors are known to be the most important aspects of the airbag system as they are known to trigger all the diverse cases of decelerations, which is what ensures that the car users are safe. As has been seen, the principle of operation of the airbag is its ability to inflate and deflate faster.
However much we depend on the seat belt in the majority of cases when collisions happen, the inflation of the numerous airbags is what helps protect the car users. This does not also call for the removal of the belts as they still play their initial role of protection as well.
The overall operation of an airbag can be summarized as:
Car hits project and vehicle losses control – electric signal detects and causes airbag trigger, explodes and covers the neck, head of driver – impact of the driver moving to the steering deflates the airbag.
Types of airbags:
Frontal airbags – the modern systems common on most cars are the frontal airbags which cushion the car users from injuries arising from front impacts. Frontal airbags are important because in several incidences, the steering wheel is the cause of lots of fatalities. These inflate and deflate faster.
The side impact airbags – these were some of the oldest invention and were meant to cushion the car occupants from the accidents happening from the sides of the car. These airbags are installed on the doors, car top and the car basement. They are known to inflate faster and deflate slowly.
Single – module airbags-the mere fact that at times all the airbag components may be in one component makes them to be called single module. Majority of such have all the components on the covering of the steering. These are usually reputed to be rather reliable yet cost effective.
Is the SRS that important?
The importance of the supplementary restraint system (SRS) in saving the lives of motorists on the road has never been in question. Because it works very quickly, it is the best thing worth keeping, when combined with the other systems to ensure you are safe.
However, it is the use of the SRS black box by majority of insurance underwriting companies when gauging the nature of accident claims of their clients that has never failed the test of time. The black box has in most cases helped many of these companies to determine whether the SRS was, tampered with or just faulty at the time of accident.
The mere fact that this box is present on most of the cars eludes majority of car users with this security safety system. So the SRS security components especially, the presence of the security illuminating light is important in giving the car user the peace that all is covered in case of an eventuality.