In Australia, the minister for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications determines vehicle standards for road vehicles or vehicle components, including active safety systems. So your car must have the standard features required, no matter the trim level.
However, higher trim levels have "more advanced" features and are priced higher. Some of these features can be added on request on lower trim levels. For example, the Mercedes C-Class base trim comes with automatic emergency braking, but you can request for additional features like blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.
The standards keep evolving and the government demands more from manufacturers in terms of safety features. As a result, automakers spend billions to upgrade every year to your advantage, making each car safer to drive and more comfortable.
Why are active safety systems in cars important?
Active safety features help prevent road accidents by continually monitoring the car for potential issues that may result in accidents if they remain unchecked.
These systems anticipate and react in the background, alerting and giving the driver enough time to act, and at times, responding before he does. Think of it as two people working towards a goal, thus, the chances of success are high.
What are the top active safety features that you should look for in your next car?
We have another article about car safety features in general, but this piece gives focus to 10 ACTIVE car safety systems that your next car shouldn’t go without:
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
The AEB is an active safety feature that monitors the road and automatically brakes the car if the driver fails to respond to a collision threat in time. Thanks to the use of radar and camera or a combination of both, the AEB reacts faster than a human being would in dangerous situations.
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
A lot of accidents occur on blind spots. In comes this monitor that uses lenses and other sensors to detect and warn the driver of oncoming vehicles entering the blind spot areas. They sound the warning through visual and audio alerts.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
Rear cameras are good, but not enough to stop some accidents. For example, it's hard to notice a child standing or walking behind a large SUV. RCTA makes it easy and safe for drivers to reverse and avoid such accidents by detecting cars, cyclists or pedestrians coming from the right or left rear. The system detects and sends an audio or visual warning to the driver.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
You may be a good driver, but no matter how cautiously and defensively you drive, another driver's mistake can result in trouble for you. For your safety, cars are now fitted with adaptive cruise control that regulates speed based on the vehicles ahead using special sensors. Depending on the circumstance, the system either brings the car to a complete stop or slows it down and reminds the driver to resume control.
Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA) or Lane Departure Warning
Lane-keeping can be challenging, especially for new drivers. Developers came up with the concept of lane-keeping assist. The system uses camera-based sensors to read road lines or sense cars that are nearby and provides hands-free driving for 20 seconds or less to keep the vehicle in lane and a safe distance from others. Ignoring indicators can be costly, especially on the freeways. The LKA will keep the car in the lane when the driver tries to change lanes without indicating and may apply the brakes if it detects a vehicle in close proximity to the lane being approached.
Forward-Collision Warnings (FCW)
Forward collision warnings are just as the name suggests: it warns the driver of impending danger from the front. It uses a camera or radar-based sensors at the front bumper or on the rear mirror that detects the speed between the car and other cars. If your speed is more than the vehicle in front, say it's slowed down or is stationary (may have just broken down and the driver hasn't put up the hazard sign), it sends a warning instructing you to stop or slow down.
Pedestrian Detection (PD)
Some people are careless; they flout rules and cross the road on non-designated areas. Cars are fitted with a pedestrian detection system that detects people or other animals on the car's path and sounds an alert to ensure the safety of the pedestrian and driver. Sometimes the pedestrian detection has automatic braking, which dramatically reduces the impact of the accident or avoids it altogether.
Bicycle Detection (BD)
It works just like pedestrian detection, but this time it detects cyclists approaching from your blind spots and projects them onto the rear-view camera screen.
Lane-Centring Assist (LCA)
This system automatically steers and brakes to continually centre the vehicle in its lane using cameras and sensors.
Adaptive Headlights (AH)
Adaptive headlights, which are also called intelligent light systems or active headlights, are an interesting feature. It comprises of "smart" headlights connected to sensors in the steering wheel. The sensors on the steering wheel send signals to the headlights when the wheel is turned. Then the headlights focus towards that direction to show the driver what's ahead of the car.
Safety is non-negotiable
You would always want to feel safe in your car like we do, so make sure that your next vehicle has these active safety systems! For more tips, follow our blogs for similar articles about car safety systems and maintenance guides. You may also want to check Carpart.com.au to locate auto professionals, car part sellers and auto recyclers. Locate mechanics through our directory and find wreckers and car part sellers through our Find-a-Part Locator.
By Eric Anyega