How can active safety features save you on the road?
Updated on December 06 2023
METRO MANILA, – Active safety refers to technology designed to minimize the risks of road crashes.
These features constantly monitor the performance and surroundings of a vehicle. Drivers are warned of possible incoming hazards and are automatically triggered when vehicle conditions become too dangerous.
Another important function of active safety is that it reduces the speed of a vehicle during unavoidable collisions. As a result, it can substantially reduce the harm to the driver or passenger.
Active vs. passive safety
Active safety harnesses emerging technologies to help drivers have greater awareness.
Some technologies even target the human senses, allowing drivers to have greater understanding of the actions of other road users before they happen. Active safety relies on some sophisticated computer equipment connected to external sensors performing safety-sensitive mechanical assistance.
In contrast, passive safety is included in the vehicle to aid passengers during a crash. They are usually installed as part of the car’s design and serve as the last line of defense against serious injuries and crashes. Examples of passive safety are airbags that deploy when the car decelerates beyond braking speed, seat belts that lock into place, crumple zones and high-strength glass.
Active and passive safety features work in tandem to ensure driver and passenger safety. Neither is more important than the other. They are just activated at different times.
The bottom line is that road safety boils down to you, the driver.
Examples of Active Safety
Active safety technology can be broken down into different waves.
- Anti-lock braking system – This safety feature keeps the wheels from locking up during heavy braking, allowing the driver to keep steering while on the brakes.
- Electronic stability control – This helps prevent the vehicle from skidding and the driver from losing control while turning a corner. Electronic stability control automatically triggers the brakes to help the vehicle steer in the right direction.
The second wave of active safety measures uses cutting-edge technology like onboard sensors, radar, cameras, GPS and lasers. This includes the following technologies:
- Autonomous emergency braking – This technology automatically activates the brakes if there is an imminent collision and the driver is not taking any action. It can detect a potential collision and trigger the brake to avoid it or at least mitigate the impact.
- Lane departure warning – This safety measure warns the driver when the vehicle is leaving a marked lane without using the indicator or if the vehicle is drifting away from its travel lane.
- Lane keeping assistance – This technology adds torque to the steering wheel or pressure to the brakes when the vehicle is about to take a different lane.
- Drowsiness and attention detection – This technology provides an assessment of the driver’s alertness and warns them when they need to take a break. This system monitors how long the driver has been on the road and analyzes steering wheel operation.
- Speed limit information – This technology notifies the driver of the current speed limit by displaying it on the dashboard and/or navigation system. Using a camera, it recognizes road signs or analyzes speed-limit data from the navigation system.
- Tire pressure monitoring system – This tracks the air pressure of a vehicle’s tire and delivers real-time information to the driver. For example, a low-pressure indicator signifies underinflation.
- Intelligent speed assistance – This safety measure prevents the driver from going beyond the speed limit through road-sign recognition cameras and GPS-linked speed limit databases.
Other Active Safety Technologies
- Forward collision warning – Alerts the driver if there is danger ahead. However, a forward collision warning will not automatically apply the brake.
- Adaptive cruise control – This technology allows the driver to set the speed limit. However, as the name suggests, it will adapt to other road users by applying the brakes to mirror surrounding traffic.
- Blind spot monitoring – The driver will be able to actively monitor the blind spot over the shoulder, notifying the driver of any hazard using a warning light.
- Rear-cross traffic alert – Backing up can be a challenge for most drivers. With rear-cross traffic alert, drivers can effectively back up on car parks and driveways.
At the end of it all, ensuring road safety is still the responsibility of the driver. You can reduce crashes and protect your family by being alert and decisive when driving.
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Automart.PH Senior Content Creator VJ Bacungan contributed to this story.