Technology is progressing. Manufacturers are riding on the wave and are coming up with more robust and more effective safety features. For quality assurance, these features are put to the test by the ANCAP and UCSR. The difference between the two is that ANCAP performs the tests on new car models in Australia, while UCSR conducts tests on cars involved in accidents to find out crucial leads on faults to the safety systems.
What are these safety features, and how do they work?
What are car safety features?
They are car systems and technologies that help keep drivers, passengers, and other road users safe. Most of them are standard in vehicles, but some are still model-specific. Information on the safety systems of a vehicle is found in the user manual.
What’s the difference between active and passive safety features in vehicles?
Active safety features help ‘prevent’ road accidents. Each safety feature has a specific purpose and constantly monitors the car for potential problems that may cause an accident. They work in the ‘background’ and correct issues with the vehicle when detected. The safety features are located at the front, side, and rear parts of the car.
Passive safety systems, on the other hand, are deployed in the event of an accident. They are designed to protect the driver and passengers and minimise the impact from the crash.
What are examples of active car safety systems?
The following active safety features help prevent accidents.
Long hours on the road are exhausting and can make the driver sleepy. Cars have unique programs that monitor the driver's input on the accelerator and steering wheel and measure the amount of time spent driving. If it detects abnormal behaviour as a result of drowsiness, the detector sounds an alarm to alert the driver and flashes a message to rest for a while.
Traffic-Sign Assist (TSA)
Speed kills. This is the reason behind the invention of intelligent cameras designed to read traffic and speed signs and inform the driver of the speed limit. If it detects that the driver exceeds the limit, it gives out a warning. In some cars, the TSA works with the speed limiter, which forces the vehicle to move within the speed limit.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
This feature uses sensors to judge closing speeds between vehicles and will apply the brakes if the driver does not respond within the required time. It comes in five categories:
- Low or city speed – detects other vehicles in front of the car to prevent minor accidents.
- Highway or freeway speed – uses long-range radar and scans up to 200 metres ahead to prevent a high-speed collision or mitigate its impact.
- Pedestrian braking – detects pedestrians and cyclists to prevent an accident.
- Reverse AEB – works at low speeds when parking and stops to prevent the car from hitting an obstacle, object or person at the rear.
- Junction AEB – detects another car entering the road from the side and applies the brakes to prevent a side collision.
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Not too long ago, cars would spin out of control on slippery roads or under other adverse conditions, and often, the results would be fatal. Innovations like the anti-lock brake system helped curb these road fatalities. The ABS comes fitted with a hydraulic brake system and integrated with the ECU, wheel sensors and hydraulic modulator unit. These components monitor the wheel and detect any impending lockup, which causes cars to skid. In such instances, the system instructs the hydraulic modulator to release the brakes which helps maintain stability.
What are examples of passive safety features?
These safety features come into use in the event of an accident.
Airbags are cushions that inflate instantly in the event of accident. They are deployed to protect the passengers and driver by providing a soft contact point. There are various types of airbags, but they generally prevent the most common fatal injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Modern cars come fitted with front, back and side airbags.
Crumple zones, aka deformation or crush zones, work by managing crash energy and increasing the duration of impact between the occupants and the car. They absorb most of the impact from the accident before it reaches the occupants. They are also known as deformation or crush zones.
To increase the chance of survival from a collision or crash, you should always have your seat belt on. Seat belts prevent occupants from getting knocked inside the car and ejected from the vehicle. Make it a habit to inspect the seat belts in your car, and make sure that:
- The webbing is not frayed and must be securely attached to the end fittings.
- It should be flat throughout its length and not stretched. Otherwise, it may be worn-out and need replacement.
- The tongue and buckle assemblies are attached and detached seamlessly.
- No part is cracked, deformed or have any other damage.
If you notice any of the above, you should immediately find replacements because these are signs of damage or wear-and-tear. You may request for these parts from Carpart.com.au and get the cheapest quotes fast.
Stability Control Systems
For enhanced safety, manufacturers use Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This car safety system automatically alters and corrects the engine power and brake application to control oversteer and understeer. ESC was made mandatory for all passenger vehicles sold in Australia from November 2013.
Safety is paramount
Replace worn-out parts and damaged safety systems immediately. In case you need to replace any component in your car, please don't hesitate to check out Carpart.com.au. You may search for auto parts through the Ads search bar, or better yet, request a part through the Auto Part Finder and receive the best quotes through your phone or email. Ask for a quote now!
By Eric Anyega