Auto Repair Manuals: Car Safety Features That Keep You Safe Part 2

Safety Features: It's all about you!

In a previous guide, we listed 5 top safety features in a car that keep occupants safe. The first part dealt a lot with wheels and steering and for good reason.  While car companies try to make each model safer than its predecessor does, but it takes more than just the efforts of the manufacturers.

 

The reason there is so much focus on the wheels and what mechanisms operate them is because your car is generally in motion at the time of an accident, thus the wheels are moving.

 

Your tires play a major role in your car’s ability to maneuver on the road, but there are other safety features to observe for a bigger impact on car safety.

 

Diving right back in we revisit a few safety features we left out about the wheel region from the last post and then we’ll add a few more areas where car safety features reside.

 

Traction Control

If you have ever accelerated too fast, more so on wet ground then chances are you may have caught a glimpse of the little orange light( depending on how new the car is)  and a feeling of your car decrease in power almost like the battery is dying.

 

This is your traction control and it has a point it is trying to prove. Traction Control Systems (TCS) are usually found as a secondary function to the electronic stability control (ESC) and is intended to reduce the loss of traction that comes from unequal levels of throttle input and engine torque.

 

When your TCS turns on you may feel one or multiple of the following:

  • Forced braking engaged to one or more wheels
  • One or more cylinders may suffer suppression of spark sequences
  • One or more cylinders may experience a temporary decrease in fuel supply

 

Normally, the TCS and the Anti-locking Braking System share the same electrohydraulic brake actuator and wheel speed sensors.

 

Stability Control Better Known As ESP/ESC/DSC

While the stability control has a bucket of names, with numerous manufacturers putting their own spin on it, the fundamentals of the stability control are still the same. Similar to the traction control, the stability control identifies wheel slippage.

 

This can be a result from over or understeering, causing either a reduction in power, engagement of brakes, or a combination of both in order to allow recapturing control of your car.

Much like traction control intends to keep traction and grippage to the streets, the ESC aims to keep steering under control.

 

Lane Assist

This new and innovative tech has become quite popular over the last few years. The Lane Assist feature is revolutionary in terms of actively jumping in to take control of your safety. This feature is standard with two modes: Passive and Active.

 

Through a complicated network of sensors and the perceptive use of camera angling, Lane Assist is more than a safety feature for your car. It is a lifeline when you least expect it.

 

Passive: This mode of Lane Assist will subtly let you know when you are venturing outside your lane without proper signaling. This is typical at speeds over 40MPH. The passive Lane Assist will kick in and either release a sharp warning buzzer or intensely vibrate the steering wheel to grab your attention.

 

Active: When this feature kicks in, you will think that hands from above swooped down to save your life. In reality, it was just your Active Lane Assist, which actively intervenes by auto-correcting itself and placing you, back into your lane by either softly applying brakes to one side of the car or by engaging the electric power steering feature.

 

Blind Spot Warning System

If you have been driving for a while, then you will really appreciate this feature. We have all heard the story of someone recapping an accident and it usually starts like this, “I was switching lanes and a car hit me from my blind spot!”

 

The blind spot is the proverbial space that eludes the visionary attention of the driver. This usually falls somewhere near the back sides and rear of the vehicle. You would be surprised how big a car can fit into your little bitty blind spot.

 

The BSWS actually sends out a little flashy light, normally on the side mirror to indicate occupancy of your blind spot. The sensors are great, but of course, you will want a double take for good measure.

 

Adaptive Cruise Control

The best friend to take long trips: Your cruise control is more than a ‘set it and forget it’ feature now. In the past, setting your cruise just meant you could take your feet off from the pedals and get comfortable on long trips all while staying at a constant speed.

 

The only problem is that in the past, cruise control features did not take into account the cars surrounding you.

 

Adaptive cruise control works by using radar/laser technology to determine the speed, distance, and necessary steps to take in order to maintain your current position in traffic. If the person in front of you slows down, your ACC slows you down accordingly. It is a win-win; just do not take your eyes off the road.

 

Active Headlights

This next safety feature may not resonate with all, but it really is a nifty feature. The idea of active headlights is to make nighttime driving easier.

 

While there is no market standard on how active headlights work, several variations include cornering lights that rotate as you round a corner to improve visibility. Sounds cool, right?

 

Another variation is the separate lights that come on as your car’s steering reaches a predetermined angle or sharpness, causing them to activate and light your turn up for maximum night visibility.

 

Side Impact Bars

While this particular safety feature doesn’t have a mechanical function, it definitely has an important role in keeping you safe.  Side impact bars are structurally built into the body of the car. The purpose of these impact bars is to keep the structural integrity of your car intact in the event of an accident.

 

Even at low speeds, without side impact bars the ending result could be fatal. This was not always a standard, but now every car manufacturer implements some form of this in their design, making cars much safer to drive than a couple decades ago.

 

Closing Part 2

These safety features are growing in practically and even further advancements are being made. We will continue to scour the internet to come back with a brand new update. Stay tuned for what new features are already out on the market in the next Safety Features guide.