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airbag, supplemental restraints

Airbags can help reduce the risk of severe head and chest (thorax) injuries in certain collisions. When an impact exceeds the force needed to trigger the airbags, the airbag control unit ignites the gas generator which then inflates the airbags in the steering wheel and the instrument panel. This chain of events occurs within 30-40 milliseconds. When inflated, airbags absorb energy from the forward movement of the head and upper body and distribute the resulting loads over a much greater area. After only 120 milliseconds, the gas escapes and the airbag collapses. Airbags are part of a finely tuned safety system that includes safety belt pretensioners. Therefore, optimum protection can only be achieved if all occupants are wearing their safety belts properly.

In addition to front airbags, side airbags to help protect chest and head are also available (see Sideguard). The head and thorax side airbags installed in the Audi TT for the driver and passenger provide additional protection from the head to the area of the ribs in certain side impacts.

Note: Airbags are supplemental restraints only and will not deploy under all accident circumstances. Always use safety belts and seat children only in the rear, using restraint systems appropriate for their size and age.

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