Side impact airbags are designed to deploy if the collision is severe enough to potentially cause injury. Side Airbags do not deploy in a frontal collision. Side Airbags are designed to either cover only the first row outboard passengers, the first two rows or all 3 rows of outboard occupants. The airbag is designed to protect the occupant on the struck side.

Newly announced airbags to protect the far side occupant in a side impact come out of the side of the front seat closest to the center of the car giving added protection between the occupants.