What Are Active and Passive Vehicle Safety Features?

Posted on: January 26, 2022

Car safety technology has come a long way. From seat belts to driver assist tools, the iterations of occupant protection and anti-crash equipment offered by car manufacturers have moved us into a new age with plenty of choices to consider when deciding what options will offer the most security while traveling by motor vehicle.

Although some newer safety features are optional add-ons, many come standard in todays vehicles. As the safety advantages have become apparent, more and more safety features that were once merely optional have become mandatory throughout the industry; the ubiquitous seat belt is the most obvious example.

The vast array of vehicle safety features available to car buyers can be broken down into two categories: active and passive. Active vehicle safety features are those that use cameras and sensors to provide assistance to drivers. Passive safety systems generally remain on standby, to serve a specific safety function in the event of an accident.

Active vehicle safety features are designed to prevent a car accident, whereas passive vehicle safety features serve to offer protection when an accident cannot be avoided, reducing the effects of the impact and force of a collision to protect vehicle occupants and minimized damage.

Active Vehicle Safety Features

Using input from cameras and sensors that use radar and sonar to detect nearby objects, active vehicle safety features may use an alert system to make the driver aware of immediate danger in the vicinity. More sophisticated technology may have the capability to take control of the steering or braking system to avoid the danger without the drivers involvement. 

  • Back-up cameras. Back-up cameras help drivers see what is behind their vehicle, which can be helpful when operating the vehicle in reverse or when parking.
  • Vehicle exit assist. Sensors can warn of an approaching vehicle so a person inside the car knows to wait until it is safe to exit.
  • Parking sensors. Using audio alerts or flashing lights, parking assist detectors can sense objects or other vehicles and alert drivers to their presence when parking.
  • Automated parking assist. More advanced systems not only detect obstructions in the parking area, but also can take over the parking process with cameras, sensors, and automatic controls.
  • Blind-spot monitoring. Situated at the rear or sides of the vehicle, cameras and spatial sensors can warn the driver of hidden dangers in blind spots using lights or audible alerts.
  • Lane-change alerts. Changing lanes presents an opportunity for blind spot issues or inattentiveness to cause a crash. Lane-change alerts can serve as a lookout for potential dangers by engaging sensors and a warning system to alert drivers to other vehicles.
  • Lane-departure alerts. Even when blind spots are clear, drivers can create problems by drifting into another lane. Lane departure alerts keep drowsy or distracted drivers from unknowingly coasting into an adjacent lane or shoulder.
  • Lane-keep technology. Some systems that detect lane departures can also take over the steering controls to keep the car on the right path.
  • Brake assist. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) is a type of brake assist that keeps brakes from locking by causing the brakes to pulsate instead of engaging the brakes suddenly and forcefully. When brakes lock, the driver may lose control of the vehicle. Automatic braking is another kind of brake assist technology, which can automatically apply the brakes to avoid a potential collision detected by its sensors.
  • Cruise control. Some cruise control systems simply maintain a set speed by accelerating or decelerating as needed. Other more advanced cruise control systems include radar cruise control or adaptive cruise control, which can sense another vehicle ahead and respond by applying the brakes.
  • Electronic stability control. Automatically engaged when a loss of traction is detected while braking, a vehicles electronic stability control takes over the brakes and steering to help the driver avoid losing control of the vehicle.
  • Cross-traffic alerts. Drivers can be notified of approaching vehicles when exiting parking spaces with the help of cross-traffic alerts that use sensors and a warning system to inform the driver of danger. This system is particularly useful in driveways and parking lots, especially when backing out of a spot with an obstructed view of oncoming traffic.
  • Driver attention alert. Using sensors and steering-correction monitors, driver attention alerts can tell when a driver may be dangerously distracted or fatigued. The system provides feedback that can notify the driver of behaviors of which may not be aware, which can encourage them to take a break.

Passive Vehicle Safety Features

Less flashy than active features, but every bit as vital, passive vehicle safety features keep people from harm when accidents occur. These important safety devices include:

  • Seat belts. One of the most life-saving improvements made to enhance driving safety is a simple nylon strap that restrains drivers and passengers and keeps them from being violently thrown around the vehicle or dangerously ejected from the cabin.
  • Airbags. Instantaneously triggered by crash sensors, airbags respond to protect the vehicles occupants by cushioning their impact with the cars interior surfaces, such as the steering wheel or side panel. The airbag system uses a chemical reaction that inflates the protective cushion with life-saving speed.
  • Crumple zones. Also known as deformation, strategically placed crumple zones absorb the impact of a collision by slowing the force before it hits the vehicles cabin.
  • High-strength glass. The glass used in today’s automobiles creates strength and structure to offer safety in the event of a head-on collision or a rollover accident.

Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Clients Recover from Injuries Sustained in Serious Collisions

If you were severely injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, you should be able to collect damages from the person responsible for your accident to pay for any medical bills or lost wages. The Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are able to secure a judgment or settlement to address your losses. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.