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Tesla logo on an electric vehicle Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Safety Features That Can Save Your Life if Airbags Fail

The Tesla Model X is known for its tech and safety features, but this one Tesla owner seems to have missed out on one of the most basic safety features there is: airbags. The Tesla Model X crash resulted from one box truck, leading to the Model X hitting a semi with no airbag deployment.

Tesla cars are known for their high-tech features, including driving aids and safety options. The electric car brand has managed to nail down many of the safety features we’d expect from cars in the future, but they seemed to have missed out on one of the most basic forms of safety mechanisms in a vehicle: the airbags. Well, at least in the case of this particular Tesla Model X. We won’t make you skip ahead to know that the driver of the vehicle was OK after a trip to the emergency room with a concussion, but should other Tesla owners be concerned?

How the story started

This scary tale begins with Tesla Model X driver, Gavin Hornak, was traveling down the highway like any other commuter. Everything was going fine until an unnamed box truck driver, driving with a suspended license, attempted to change lanes on a day with particularly unpleasant weather, potentially not within safe traveling distance, especially for a vehicle as heavy and hard to stop on wet pavement as a box truck. Upon attempting to change lanes, the driver of the box truck collided with the back end of Gavin’s Tesla Model X, sending him into the semi-truck in front of him. The situation could have been a complete tragedy had the vehicles been moving faster than a reported 50 mph, or if Gavin had not been wearing his seat belt — which, luckily, as a responsible driver, he was.

According to the driver of the totaled Tesla Model X, Gavin Hornak, there was no response from Tesla in regards to the concerning lack of airbag deployment. Wham Baam Teslacam also attempted to reach out but has not updated viewers with any information in regards to a response from Tesla. Luckily for Gavin and other Tesla fans, there are several other driving aids and safety features that make Teslas a safe option in case of an unfortunate circumstance, like the airbags no deploying.

Tesla logo on an electric vehicle
Tesla logo on an electric vehicle | Robert Alexander, Getty Images

What safety features does the Tesla Model X have?

The Tesla Model X is known for some of its fun hidden Easter Eggs, but it’s also known for its innovative and user-focused technology and safety features. While it may take time to adjust to features such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, the importance of these options is clear when you really need them. The Tesla Model X offers all of the driving aids and safety features drivers are looking for, and then some, each of which can help you in case of a potential accident or even work to prevent an accident:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Forword collision warning
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Collision mitigation braking
  • Pretensioners

While the monitoring systems were not able to prevent the collision, they likely prepared the vehicle for impact, especially in the few moments between the initial impact from behind and secondary impact from the Tesla Model X being pushed into the back of a semi-truck. Pretensioners would have begun to tighten the seatbelts to prepare passengers for impact, and the collision mitigation system would have begun to apply brakes and slow the vehicle down to reduce the impact as much as possible, all likely playing a role in the outcome of this crash.

The most important safety feature is the most underrated one

The most important safety feature in the Tesla Model X that truly saved Gavin and his passenger is probably the least exciting: his seatbelt. According to the NHTSA, seatbelts have played a dramatic role in vehicle safety in case of an accident, and that reigns true for Gavin and his passenger, who may have sustained more serious injuries had they not been buckled up. The NHTSA has estimated that the use of seatbelts has saved as many as 14,955 lives in the year 2017. While it isn’t as interesting as the new-age technology and features that vehicles like the Tesla Model X offer, your seatbelt is still, first and foremost, the most important safety feature in your vehicle.

“Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly. “


We still don’t have answers as to why this Tesla Model X’s airbags failed to deploy in this horrific accident, but luckily for the driver, there were no serious injuries or fatalities. With so many safety features working together to prevent the driver and passenger in case of emergency, many drivers are still confident in their Tesla Model X, and Gavin himself has announced that he is interested in buying another one in the near future.


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