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Delayed Safety Feature

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There is a car. The car is involved in a close accident, but somehow manages to avoid any kind of major damage. Or perhaps the vehicle is involved in some ridiculously destructive accident — bouncing off other cars, flying off a bridge, etc. The car safely (or eventually as the case may be) comes to a halt. Driver and passenger may share a relieved glance and a sigh that it's over.

Then the airbags go "FOOM!"

This also happens a lot with parachutes and ejector seats, for a similar comedic effect.

Totally not Truth in Television, since airbags are directly released by impacts. Likewise, parachutes don't unfold without motion to create air resistance. Always supposed to be funny. See also Delayed Causality. Definitely not to be confused with Funbag Airbag.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Brainstorm attempt to avert this through the creation of an Early Early Warning System; his regular Early Warning System was this trope. It helpfully says "Uh-Oh" when things start getting dicey, but he insists that there's no need to worry until it starts saying "Run for your life!". But it never does that until things have clearly gone to hell, making it still an example of this trope.

    Films — Animation 
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: After Launchpad lands the plane upside-down with the roof on the sand, the landing gear pointlessly extends.
  • Heavy Metal segment "Soft Landing". An astronaut pilots a car as it enters a planet's atmosphere. After it hits the ground, the astronaut pulls a lever and a parachute deploys.
  • In Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, the bus filled with produce heading to a concert, after a scene of downhill driving, finally stops when the airbags go off, much to Bob's dismay. The commentary "starring" Larry and Mr. Lunt even points out this trope and mentions how the children didn't have the then-new side airbags.
  • In the Monsters, Inc. short film "Mike's New Car", after Mike finally Offscreen Crashes the thing, Sully comments "Hmm, that's weird... the airbag didn't go off." Airbags immediately go off, apparently with enough force to send Mike flying.
  • In Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Gromit deploys the car's lasso and successfully lassoes the Were-Rabbit. After a bumpy, high-speed tow-along where the car slips, skids and bumps into things, eventually the rope snaps and the Were-Rabbit escapes. Gromit pounds the steering wheel with his fist in disappointment, and that is when the airbag deploys in his face.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, the spacecraft ejector seat only works once Ralph has already crash-landed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used to deadly effect in Final Destination 2. A character is stuck in the driver seat of her car with a metal beam sticking through the back of her seat where her head would normally be. Firefighters are attempting to break open the door and get her out. She is smoking a cigarette and trying not to freak out each time they bash the door of the car when the airbag suddenly deploys. As it deflates, we are shown her head, now impaled on the metal beam as the firefighters look on in horror.
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, during the montage in which the Grinch assembles his rocket sled for the titular scheme, he crash-tests the sled's safety features at one point. After an incredibly gruesome crash that the Grinch survives because he's Made of Iron, he stumbles out of the wreck and groans out that the sled's airbag is "a little slow", and it is right then that the airbag goes off.
  • Played for Laughs in Inspector Gadget (1999) when Gadget and Brenda fall off a skyscraper. He frantically tries to find the keyphrase for his parachute and eventually ends up with a Parasol Parachute. They land safely, and then the actual parachute opens.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, after Tony tests his first flying armor, he crashes spectacularly, but unharmed (and most certainly not on fire). Then his robot sprays him with a fire extinguisher.
    • In Iron Man 2, during the fight with Whiplash in Monaco, Happy Hogan rams him into a crash barricade with Stark's limousine, then backs up to hit him again. On the third impactnote  the airbag goes off in Hogan's face.
  • Stanley Goodspeed's borrowed Ferrari does this in The Rock. After pinballing down a San Francisco hill, plowing through at least a half dozen parking meters head on, and a rather bumpy spin-out, there's a half second delay of calm before the airbag detonates. Also delayed recovery, as the bag stays inflated forcing him to shoot it.

  • Good Omens: Among the downsides of Newton Puslifer's Wasabi are an automated voice that says "Prease to fasten sleat bert?" even when you were buckled in, and an airbag that deploys on "dangerous occasions", like when you're driving along the road at 30 miles per hour when your view of the road is suddenly obstructed by a faulty airbag.
  • Mentioned in passing in X-Wing Series novel Starfighters of Adumar, when Wes Janson runs into a former squadron-mate who had it happen to him, and tells his story. The other pilot's Y-Wing was so heavily damaged in a battle that it couldn't manage a vertical landing, so a runway was hastily cleared and the pilot brought his bomber in to bleed off his momentum using its (unwheeled) landing gear. The Y-Wing went bouncing and shuddering down the runway, rolling over entirely at one point, only to finally come to a stop miraculously upright. The pilot slumped in relief... and then his Ejection Seat misfired. To make matters worse, this was all happening on a small, airless planetoid with very light gravity, so he ended up making escape velocity and went sailing off into the void, to be retrieved by a search-and-rescue shuttle. The pilot thus came to be known as Tomer "Ejector" Darpen.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Goodies. The climax of "Fleet Street Goodies" has the parachute version, because they delayed the opening too long.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Question", as the ghost of a skydiver whose parachute failed tries to chase after Gumball and Darwin, his parachute suddenly deploys to hold him in place.
  • A delayed parachute gag example from Batman: The Animated Series: After crashing a plane, the Joker stumbles out of the flaming wreck (without a scratch naturally) only for his parachute to go off.
  • A recurring joke in Codename: Kids Next Door. Every time H.I.P.P.I.E.-H.O.P. gets demolished, it would eject Numbuh Three out of the cockpit and crash hard on the ground, then her parachutes pop.
  • One bumper for Johnny Bravo on Cartoon Network has Johnny driving alongside a pretty lady in another car. Johnny is so focused on laying out the schmooze that he fails to avoid a lane divider and crashes into it. After a moment to assess the damage, Johnny remarks to the Fourth Wall: "Man, I hate women drivers." The airbag deploys at that moment to shut him up.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Debarted", well after Marge rear-ends Hans Moleman's car, the airbag deploys and smothers him.
  • Trollhunters: in the episode "Creepslayerz", when Steve crashes Eli's mother's car (at a relatively low speed) it takes a few seconds before the airbag in the passenger seat to go off, hitting Eli. Steve laughs at the sight and then his airbag goes off as well.


Video Example(s):



When the Kids Next Door are under attack by a giant mutant turnip, Numbuh One has Numbuh Three summon her bunny inspired mecha H.I.P.P.I.E.-H.O.P. to save them.

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