5th August 2016

Blog: Car Safety Systems explained

  • Active Noise Control explained http://bit.ly/UIDdug - works like noise-cancelling headphones to counteract unwanted noises in the cabin
  • Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection http://bit.ly/1sNCzLq - This system uses radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead and, if a collision risk with a vehicle or pedestrian is detected, provides a warning to the driver. If the driver does not respond in time, the system can automatically apply up to full braking force to help reduce the severity of or even eliminate some frontal collisions. Pre-Collision Assist may help drivers avoid rear end collisions with other vehicles at all speeds, while Pedestrian Detection can help the driver avoid pedestrians at lower speeds – both may reduce the severity of forward collisions or even prevent certain forward collisions.
  • Ford Adaptive Steering - http://bit.ly/29QcRkv - this system automatically adjusts the steering ratio according to speed to optimise manoeuvrability and precision.
  • Quick Clear Windscreen - http://bit.ly/1CaNzmQ - Defrost and Demist the front windscreen at the press of a switch.
  • Front Wide-View Camera - http://bit.ly/29PfG1U - here is technology that can see around corners even when you cannot – reducing stress and potentially helping avert collisions
  • Cross Traffic Alert - http://bit.ly/29VxcoQ - warns of passing cars when reversing out of a parking space.
  • Side Parking Sensors http://bit.ly/29QfYZO - scans 360 degrees and warns of nearby objects.
  • Active Park Assist - http://bit.ly/29QBXQg - this technology takes the guesswork out of determining if your vehicle can be parked in the desired parallel parking space.
  • Lane Keeping System - http://bit.ly/2ao1izv - forward facing camera scans ahead and warns if you wander out of your drive lane
  • Intelligent Speed Limiter - http://bit.ly/1d33Tz8 - Intelligent Speed Limiter technology scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.
  • Ford Spot Light System - http://bit.ly/29HBiSV - Spot Lighting technology helps draw the driver’s attention to pedestrians, cyclists and even large animals in the vehicle’s path or even just off the road.
  • Intelligent All Wheel Drive - http://bit.ly/29VxqfE - technology for optimised traction in slippery conditions.
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System TPMS - http://bit.ly/29PyWlW - compulsory since January 2015, this system electronically monitors the air pressure within each of the four tyres, warning the driver on their clock console which tyre is affected.
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) One of the most important developments in vehicle safety, ESC automatically reduces engine power and, depending on the individual system fitted, can operate individual brakes should it detect the car is about to lose stability or skid as the result of a driver’s inputs. Independent studies have shown that ESC could prevent up to a third of all road accidents. It’s such an important development that manufacturers are now required by law to install ESC on all new cars. This car safety feature is commonly known as ESC, but other acronyms used by manufacturers include ASC, DSC, DTSC, ESP, ESP+, VDC, VSA and VSC.
  • Automatic braking systems: use a variety of sensors to detect any potential imminent collision. Individual systems vary between marques, but they will generally audibly alert the driver and then automatically apply the brakes should no action be taken. At lower speeds, many automatic braking systems can prevent an accident altogether.
  • Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) This development of anti-lock brakes (ABS) automatically distributes brake force between the wheels, helping to minimise stopping distances while bringing the car to a halt predictably and in a straight line.
  • Lane-keeping technology; warn the driver if they let the car stray too close to the edge of their lane on the motorway without indicating. This is done either through an audible warning or through haptic feedback (e.g. a vibrating steering wheel). More advanced systems will automatically make steering adjustments to keep you within lane, though most will stop working after a couple of minutes if they detect the driver is not holding the steering wheel or making any attempt to keep the car within its lane themselves.
  • Speed-limiting devices: Many cars fitted with cruise control also come with a feature to prevent the car being driven above a pre-set speed. Speed-limiting devices can normally be set to any speed and will gently reduce engine power when it is reached. Many systems will deactivate if the driver floors the accelerator so they can still react to developing situations on the road.
  • Smart seatbelt reminder: The best systems sense which seats are occupied and alert the driver if any other belts haven’t been fastened.
  • Good visibility and/or visibility aids: Modern cars may have poor visibility thanks to oversized pillars, which can be largely compensated with cameras and/or proximity sensors to alert the driver to obstacles they might otherwise miss.
  • Blind spot warning systems: This system can reduce the likelihood of an accident when changing lanes by alerting drivers to unseen adjacent vehicles. This is normally done via a light in the door mirror that is backed up by an audible alert should the driver not see it and make an attempt to change lane.
  • Adaptive cruise control: This is where cruise control uses radar to maintain a set distance from the car in front. Should that car slow down, the system will automatically reduce the vehicle’s speed to match. If the car moves out of the way, it will accelerate back up to the pre-set cruising speed. Advanced versions even work in slow-moving traffic.
  • Attention monitoring systems: These systems monitor the driver's responses, looking for signs that might indicate tiredness. They vary between manufacturers - some sound an alarm while others vibrate the seat or give visual warnings to alert the driver that it is time to take a break.
  • Active headlights Basic active headlight systems have additional lights that come on to the left or right for cornering, lighting up the bend as you go. More sophisticated systems have active beam control - linking the direction of the headlamp beam directly to the steering. The most advanced systems not only allow the headlamps to turn as the wheels do, but use cameras to detect cars ahead. If the system senses them, it adjusts the headlight beam automatically to provide maximum illumination without dazzling other road users.
  • Pre-tensioned and load-limited seatbelts: Seatbelt pre-tensioners take up any slack in the belt when they detect a crash is imminent, keeping you fixed in your seat. Load limiters, on the other hand, prevent injury by allowing the belt to stretch slightly as the crash takes place so that not too much force is placed on the passenger’s body, particularly their ribcage.
  • Dual-stage Airbags: Sensors in the car monitor deceleration rates and then fire the airbags to cushion any impact between the occupant and the car's interior. Dual-stage airbags have sensors that trigger different responses for crashes of different severity. For example, they inflate less rapidly in lower severity impacts, reducing the chance of airbag-related injuries, while still cushioning the impact.
  • Good head restraints: Poorly designed or adjusted head restraints account for many whiplash injuries, which usually occur if you are shunted from behind. Make sure that a car’s head restraints can be raised high enough to suit drivers and passengers of all heights – the top of the head restraint should sit level with the top of the person’s head, and the head should be no more than an inch away from the restraint when the occupant is sitting comfortably for it to be effective. Front head restraints are tested by Euro NCAP to check their resistance to whiplash injury.
  • Seat-mounted side airbags: These help protect the pelvis, chest and abdomen in a side-on crash. Seat-mounted side airbags are preferable to door-mounted airbags as they stay in the correct position should the seat move.
  • Side airbags are normally fitted as standard for front-seat passengers but may only be offered as an option in the rear.
  • Side curtain airbags usually drop down from the roof lining above the windows to protect the heads of front and rear passengers in the event of a side-on crash.
  • Knee airbags: the knee airbag means drivers would be cushioned from immovable objects such as the steering column in a collision, preventing injury to their lower limbs and pelvis. It’s just one of the many developments that could mean the difference between walking away from an accident and being stretchered out.

Isofix child seat mounts: This system for fitting child seats uses mounting points built into the car seats, rather than the adult seatbelt. It has become the accepted standard for fitting child car seats, with nearly all manufacturers offering it, at least as an option. The main benefit is that they make the seat easier to install, increasing the likelihood of it being installed correctly. Three-point Isofix systems are best, as they have a ‘top tether’ as well as two lower anchorages.

More Blogs