A Buyers Guide: Space Aged Safety

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Blind Spot Warning Mirror

In the ever evolving world of automotive innovation, there is no area which has been more positively affected than the area of crash prevention. Vehicles which virtually drive themselves have become the norm, with automakers taking dramatic turns to take the guesswork out of driver attentiveness. Between personal communication devices, automotive entertainment systems, and human interaction, driver distraction has risen to a position near the top in the area of causing fatal automobile collisions.

Here is a brief explanation of several key innovative crash prevention systems which are currently being employed on this year’s model.


Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

This brake safety feature has been in use on mass produced automobiles for well over two decades. The anti-lock braking system determines vehicle speed at either two or four wheels, depending upon the type of system with which the vehicle is equipped. Electro-magnetic vehicle speed sensors, one of which is located near each the wheel, send data to the ABS control module. The computer calculates the data readings to determine whether or not to decrease hydraulic pressure to one or more wheels, in order to prevent or interrupt a brake skid condition.

Traction Control System (TCS)

The traction control system utilizes the same electro-magnetic sensors which the ABS uses to determine variations in vehicle speed between individual wheels. The TCS operates virtually opposite of the ABS system, applying brake pressure where necessary and slowing down the free spinning wheel, thus equalizing traction between drive wheels.

Stability Control System (SCS)

This system also uses data from wheel speed sensors, as well as data from electronic leveling control systems, to determine if an over-steer situation is occurring. The SCS system then uses a combination of additional and diminishing brake pressure, along with variable electronic power steering controls, to regain vehicle stability.

Electronic Brake Mitigation System (EBMS)

This system has been in use since the turn of the century. It uses a combination of laser sensors in the front of the vehicle and vehicle speed sensors to detect oncoming objects, which present the threat of a frontal impact. When a threat is detected a audio/visual warning is issued, followed by gradual mitigated braking in order to slow the vehicle and possibly prevent a major crash.

Automated Cruise Control System (ACCS)

When the cruise control is activated laser sensors in the front grille area are used, in conjunction with vehicle speed sensor inputs, to detect approaching vehicles in the same lane of traffic. If the ACCS determines that a collision is imminent, vehicle speed will be reduced and an audio/visual warning issued. When the collision threat is eliminated, the cruise control reverts back to the previously set speed.

Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)

As the name implies, this system uses cameras positioned near the driver’s field of vision, to detect unintentional vehicle lane changes. When the LDWS camera alerts the LDWS controller that the vehicle has crossed the center line (without turn signal activation) an audio/visual warning is issued. If the vehicle continues on its unintentional course, then the electronically assisted power steering system will torque the steering wheel in an effort to alert the driver and bring the vehicle back into the correct lane.

Blind Spot Mitigation System (BSMS)

The BSMS uses laser sensors in the four corners to detect objects which could be in the driver’s blind-spot. Audio/visual warning/s are issued if a vehicle approaches this predetermined area while the vehicle is in motion. Some manufacturers place warning symbols, which are illuminated in amber or red, in the mirrored surfaces of the sideview mirror and others place them in the instrument panel; still other manufacturer’s systems await a turn signal activation before issuing the blind spot warning.

Please remember that all of these innovative safety features are designed to aid the driver. They are not designed to replace the driver and an attentive, responsible, and licensed driver should be in control any time that the vehicle is moving.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.