Active Safety Technologies - Discern the definitions of systems that help you handle the unforeseen.
By The Editors/autoMedia.com
Next to the driver's attention and skill behind the wheel, the most important
ingredients for motoring safety are a vehicle's accident-avoidance features.
These are sometimes referred to as "active safety" features because, in simple
terms, they "actively" help the driver avoid an accident.
Active safety features are designed to help the driver retain control of the
vehicle in situations where he or she might otherwise lose control. Typical
scenarios where active safety features may help the driver include slippery
winter conditions, winding mountain roads, or sudden traffic jams on the
Several important active safety features became popular on higher-end vehicles
beginning in the late 1980s and have since become more mainstream. Here are
the key active safety features on many of today's vehicles.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
What it is: Anti-Lock Braking Systems are designed to keep the wheels
from locking up during hard braking, or during normal braking on slippery
surfaces. First and foremost, this helps the driver retain steering control;
in some situations, ABS can also help shorten stopping distances.
How it works: A microprocessor or control unit continually compares the
rotational speed of the wheels via electronic sensors located at each wheel.
During braking, if the control unit determines that one of the wheels has
locked up, it directs an ABS hydraulic system to individually and rapidly
"pump" that brake until its rotational speed is back in line with the other
What it feels like: The feel of ABS actuation varies from vehicle to
vehicle, but it typically is felt through a pulsing action through the brake
pedal, and may include the sound of the hydraulic pump working. This is
normal, and the driver should maintain steady pressure on the brake pedal
(without "pumping" the pedal) until the vehicle has slowed sufficiently to be
out of danger.
How it benefits the driver: ABS can help the driver avoid an accident
by enabling him or her to steer out of trouble in an emergency-braking
maneuver, or to maintain directional control during normal braking on a