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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi - I am new to this forum and hoping someone might be able to direct me or give me some advice.

I am curious as to what triggers the driver side airbags.

I was rear ended yesterday on the freeway (by an 08 or 09 3 series BMW.)

The driver hit me - I was going about 5 - 10 MPH - she was going about 35MPH (from her estimate). She hit me when she swerved into my lane hitting the corner of my left rear bumper square on. My head hit the (B column?) between the driver's side window and the rear window. I either lost consciousness or my wits about me for about 30 secs due to the hit. ...something to that effect but it is all blurry. (I had a CT and chest Xray at hospital - have dent in my head and clinical concussion diagnosis; headache, nausea and sore, but fine).

The person on the SOS / BMW Assist line noted that there was a "malfunction" signal and "passenger restraint malfunction" and that was flashing on my dash. He also said that and the fact that the fuel line cut off (I couldn't restart my car for about 5 mins) was normal (there wasn't anything in passenger side but my briefcase.)

SO I guess I am wondering what the "criteria" is for deployment is. I am reading on here that some airbags have deployed at low speeds or relatively minor scenarios (e.g. hitting a curb.) And it seems like the reason the airbags are in place are is to prevent what happened to me from happening. Any resources, info you can point me to? Any suggestions on getting to the bottom of this? Thanks.
 

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Premium Member
2018 540i MSport
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I thought airbags deploy only during front end collisions. When hit from the rear, typically you are thrown back, not forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well that would explain it:) however why have a side airbag on the column where I hit my head? Since I was hit from the left and my head hit that left column - why have it?
 

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2018 540i MSport
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Well that would explain it:) however why have a side airbag on the column where I hit my head? Since I was hit from the left and my head hit that left column - why have it?
I guess I was thinking front airbags...good question then about the side ones.
 

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Everything's Bigger in TX
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Side impacts would be needed to trigger a side airbag deployment. Question...you say you were rear-ended, but how did you end up hitting your head on the b-pillar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She hit my left rear bumper (corner) with her car -- most of her damage was right where her front license place sits.so i guess the force pushed back of my head to the left . So back of head hit the bar between the front and back windows (someone at the scene called it the "b column"?) and said there was an airbag in there. may be called something else:)
 

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Happy F10 driver
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Yeah there is a curtain airbag across the gap between a and b pillars. Will only deploy if a side impact or a really significant crash where all airbags would deploy. There are crash sensors all over the car. Did the headrest fire forward?

US spec airbags are also very powerful and can cause injury themselves, including burns, so the car only deploys if it really needs to and the prevention of injury would be better than the possible damage caused by the 'cure'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Makes sense. I am going to say yes to the headrest firing forward...my brain still hurts:) Thanks for the input.
 

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Tar Heel Faithful
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Yeah there is a curtain airbag across the gap between a and b pillars. Will only deploy if a side impact or a really significant crash where all airbags would deploy. There are crash sensors all over the car. Did the headrest fire forward?

US spec airbags are also very powerful and can cause injury themselves, including burns, so the car only deploys if it really needs to and the prevention of injury would be better than the possible damage caused by the 'cure'.
+1. Airbags are really a last ditch safety system reserved for higher-impact collision. It's literally like getting punched in the face.

The only thing that normally should fire in a rear collision would be the active head restraints.
 

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It was the active head restraints. I was rear ended in my 335 and got the restraint malfunction error. The head rests popped up and forward and would not retract until the head rests and the firing mechanism were replaced.
 
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