Toyota Safety Sense
What exactly does Toyota Safety Sense include?
When shopping for a vehicle you would no doubt take a keen interest in the safety of each car you’ve got on your shortlist. Your research into the Toyota stable of cars will have unearthed the term ‘Toyota Safety Sense’, fitted to certain vehicles in the Rav4, Corolla Hatch and sedan, Land Cruiser 200 and Prado ranges, amongst others.
But what exactly does Toyota Safety Sense include, and how does it make you and your family safer on the road?
Firstly, we need to differentiate between active and passive safety features. Passive safety features are those that are only called into action in the event of an accident: seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones and safety cells in the construction of the vehicle. These features reduce the impact and effect of an accident on the occupants of the vehicle and other road users.
Active safety features are active constantly while you drive, hence the name, and are designed to prevent accidents from occurring: traction control, stability control, braking systems, as well as new technology.
Toyota Safety Sense (abbreviated to TSS) is a comprehensive suite of active safety systems that work together to prevent accidents or minimise their severity. It can even work to keep pedestrians safe. TSS addresses the three most frequent accident types, which are frontal collisions, accidental lane departures and nigh-time accidents. Included in TSS are:
Pre-Collision System (PCS): helps prevent and mitigate damage from rear-end collisions involving vehicles and/or pedestrians. PCS uses an integrated camera and radar system that is able to detect vehicles and pedestrians in the vehicle’s path. In some cases it can also detect cyclists. When a potential collision is detected, the system gives the driver visual and audio alerts to begin braking. If the driver doesn’t brake sufficiently, the system uses Brake Assist (BA) to apply additional force. If the driver does not respond at all, the system may apply braking force automatically, minimising the chance of a frontal collision.
Lane Departure Alert (LDA): helps prevent vehicles from deviating from their lanes and head-on collisions. LDA uses a camera to tell if the vehicle is drifting out of the lane, and alerts the driver. It does not operate if the indicator is being used at the time.
Also included on some models is Steering Assist, which detects unintentional vehicle drift and lane departures, and makes small corrections to keep the vehicle in the correct lane.
Automatic High Beam (AHB): contributes to the early detection of pedestrians and the reduction of accidents during night-time driving. AHB is NOT the simple system that switches your lights on after dark. AHB is a complex system that uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the taillights of cars going in the same direction, and automatically switches between high-beam and low-beam to avoid blinding other drivers.
This system allows the driver to use high beams more often, which makes driving safer for both the drover and for pedestrians and cyclists by making them more visible.
Another active safety feature on certain Toyota vehicles is Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
DRCC uses radar to detect vehicles in front of the vehicle, allowing it to maintain a safe speed. As with normal cruise control, the driver determines the speed at which the vehicle is to travel, but DRCC then maintains a safe distance between the vehicle and vehicles in front of it, eliminating the need for the driver to brake and accelerate while in traffic.