Friday Report: May that ‘puffy guardian angel’ airbag not be defective |

Friday Report: May that ‘puffy guardian angel’ airbag not be defective

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

As of last Tuesday, General Motors had recalled 6.3 million vehicles since the start of the year and it’s barely April. The Chevy’s that aren’t prone to bursting into flames have windows that fall out or front axles that are inexplicably capable of making left and right turns at the same time. What a mess to dump in the lap of the new CEO, Mary Barra, the first woman ever to head a major auto brand. She apologized this week before a congressional committee about the 13 deaths caused by a faulty ignition switch that GM was well aware of but ignored for more than 10 years.

Cars are complicated pieces of machinery and more powerful motors are making a comeback, capable of powering the family flivver in excess of 120 miles per hour between traffic jams. At those speeds, safety is an illusion.

Despite that, auto-makers keep working on safer cars. One of the greatest safety advances was the airbag. Talk about carefree driving! So what if some idiot, out-of-state tree weaves into your lane. No need to even apply the brakes, just close your eyes and let the airbag handle all the worrisome little things out there. Stopping is a nuisance when you need to get home in a hurry because you suddenly remember that you left a burner on under a pan.

What could be sweeter than a round, puffy guardian angel throwing itself between you and imminent death? But then, the airbags depend on a little switch out there in front of the car. How do we know that switch isn’t defective, subject to a recall?

Drivers should have control of these devices. Cars need a big red button marked “Uh-oh!” If things look bad, just blow up the airbags, so at least we can’t see what’s coming

I’ve read that you can trigger an airbag just by brushing the garage door with the front bumper. I don’t know what the front of your house looks like, but I promise it will look awful if you keep brushing it with the front bumper of your car.

Some cars come equipped with passenger side airbags that we can turn on or off, depending if we like the person sitting next to us, “Mom? Remember that time when I wanted a pony and you wouldn’t get me one?” Click!

My steering wheel proudly proclaims it’s equipped with a second-generation airbag, but I don’t like worrying about the genealogy of an explosive device sitting scant inches from valuable, irreplaceable parts. What if the third generation turns to criminous activity?

Why don’t cars come with Millennial-generation airbags, confident, tolerant, yet a bit narcissistic, coupled with a strong sense of entitlement?

I don’t like the phrase, “Should the airbag deploy . . .” I shouldn’t have to explain this to technical writers, but airbags don’t deploy, troops deploy. Airbags blow up in your face like an in-closet meth lab.

In an accident, the airbag will smack you in the face like boxing champ Mike Tyson. It’s all over in a split second, as the airbag mercifully blocks your view of that Tyson Chicken (no relation) refrigerated semi-trailer just before your great leap into heaven. For a brief moment we ponder the eternal question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Because the driver was in a hurry to finish cooking the batch of methamphetamine brewing in his closet, that’s why.

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