Originally Posted by JeF4y
People fail to realize that the force of the airbag needs to EQUAL that of the impact in order for it to be effective. If either is stronger (airbag or crash), you will be more seriously injured...
Not force, but energy. The idea of the airbag is not to push you back and keep you in your seat, it is to reduce the force on your collarbone and pelvis that that the seat belt is putting on you.
Also, still thinking total energy: your car is crushing during the impact. That is absorbing energy from the impact too. So that airbag doesn't really need to equal the same amount of "force" (or energy) b/c it takes energy to crush your frame rails.
The reason airbag inflators go off so fast is because the airbag needs to be fully inflated before you start going into it. There are vent holes and/or porous fabric that allow the gas from the airbag to vent as you go into it. The force of your body pushing on that bag is what forces the air out of the bag which in turn is reducing how fast your body is moving toward the steering wheel.
I would not disable my airbag system. The older (15+ years) systems did have some primitive mechanical sensors to fire the bags, but now it is all computer controlled algorithms and engineering tests ahead of time the "inadvertent deployment" situations you mention (i.e. bumper takes a hammer blow, hard door slam, car hit by a shopping cart, etc).
Engineering also conducts test crashes with a 5th percent female (tiny) with the seat in the full frontal position. Airbags use tethers and other techniques like folding pattern so that the airbag does not come straight out but inflates radially.