What the Modern Car Safety System Consists Of

Safety systems and devices are usually divided into active and passive.

We will speak about them in detail.

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What is the most important thing in the car? What about driving? “Yes, it's important”, one will say, “but I have five children and a dog. I want them to have enough space and feel comfortable during driving”. So, the most important thing is that the car solves the problems of its owner as best as possible, isn’t it? “Yes, but let it be cheap”, the other will continue. And the third will say: “Why do I need all this? I want a fast and cool car”. Everyone has completely different requirements for the car, they are often diametrically opposite. But absolutely no one wants to die at the wheel of their car in an accident. Unfortunately, this happens quite often. And it also suggests that, perhaps, the most important thing in the car is safety.

Passive security systems

It can hardly be said that modern cars have become much faster or more comfortable than 10-20 years ago. Sometimes cars from the ‘90s – the so-called “Golden era” of the automotive industry — are not much inferior in these disciplines to their modern counterparts. But in terms of safety, there is a whole gulf between them. But what is the safety of a modern car and what does it consist of? Let's figure it out!

Safety systems and devices are usually divided into active and passive. Active ones are those that are designed to help the driver avoid accidents. The objective of passive safety systems is to reduce severe consequences of an accident. We'll start with them.

The power structure of a modern car body is precisely calculated for the best protection in various accidents. The power structure of a modern car body is precisely calculated for the best protection in various accidents.

Safe body

Perhaps the main passive safety system can be considered the car itself, or rather its body. It is clear that it must be strong to protect the riders. However, there is a catch: the most dangerous thing in an accident is not deformation of the car, but its abrupt stop. So you cant just make a very strong body. After all, in this case, strikes even at a low speed will be deadly.

It is necessary that the car can dampen the impact. To do this, engineers make special deformation zones in the front end and rear end of the car, thanks to which the body will crumple in certain places, absorbing the impact. The cage of the cabin, where the passengers are, is made, on the contrary, very strong.

Seat belts can save lives. You just need to fasten your seat belt. Seat belts can save lives. You just need to fasten your seat belt.

Seat belt

However, even a very well-designed and strong body will be useless, and all the work of engineers will go to waste if passengers will fly around the cabin at a sharp slowdown. This can be avoided by a well-known device — a seat belt. So-called three-point belts are used in modern cars.

They were invented in the late ‘50s by Volvo safety engineer Nils Bolin. Everyone knows how a seat belt works: when a sharp deceleration, an inertia tensioner is triggered, keeping a person in the seat. Belt pre-tensioners are used for even better retention in the seat during an accident. Pre-tensioners feature powder charges that when exploding, instantly push a human body in the seat. And a force limiter is used in order to prevent a belt from causing serious injuries to a person. When a certain load is reached, it weakens pressure of a passenger’s belt.

Airbags literally "wrap" passengers in an accident. Airbags literally "wrap" passengers in an accident.

Airbag

In addition to seat belts, modern cars use airbags. They are used to ensure that passengers do not come into contact with a steering wheel, trim parts, and to soften an impact during an accident. Sometimes, about six airbags are used in modern cars, even in B-segment cars.

But if airbags inside a car no longer surprise anyone, then the use of them outside sounds quite unusual. ZF is developing this direction within the Vision Zero concept, which aims at zero accidents and zero emissions. Another interesting innovation is a pedestrian airbag, which opens from under the hood. This system was presented by Volvo in 2012.

Hood powder charge

The pedestrian airbag technology has not been widely used. Instead, manufacturers began to make systems that lift a hood when hitting a pedestrian. For this purpose, designers instal hood hinges with special powder charges, which lift a hood. This allows softening a blow.

Active headrest

There is a high risk of whiplash injuries to the neck in a rear-end collision. To eliminate this problem, manufactures use active headrests, which rest on heads of a driver and passengers as close as possible in a rear-end collision.

Active safety systems

There are a bunch of safety systems that have different brand names, but they are all similar in nature. At the time of an accident, these systems disconnect a battery, stop a car, clamp brake pads to slow down a car, avoid repeated impacts, and open windows slightly to release excess pressure from the interior. If windows were open, they will, on the contrary, close them.

Today, the ISOFIX system is available in almost all cars. Today, the ISOFIX system is available in almost all cars.

Child seats and ISOFIX mounts

Seats and seat belts are designed for people with a height of 150 cm. Therefore, children must be carried in special child seats. The use of child seats significantly increases the safety of transporting a child. For their mounting, there is a unified ISOFIX system, which is installed in all new cars.

At the beginning of the automotive industry, a driver was the only person responsible for active safety. However, since the ‘70s, various driver assistance systems have been actively developed. And it all started with the ABS system, which first appeared in its modern form on the 1972 Mercedes-Benz W116.

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ABS (Antilock Braking System)

The main task of the anti-lock system is to prevent wheels from locking. After all, in the case of blocking on a dry surface, a braking distance increases significantly, and a driver loses control.

EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)

An important addition to ABS is the EBD system. Its main task is to distribute braking force in such a way that a car remains controllable during a stop. Thanks to this system, a driver can continue to drive a car even during a very hard stop.

ESC, alternately using brake mechanisms of different wheels, helps a driver to cope with a skid ESC, alternately using brake mechanisms of different wheels, helps a driver to cope with a skid

ESC (Electronic Stability Control)

A further development of the ABS and EBD systems was Electronic Stability Control. It is paired with four-channel ABS (each wheel is controlled independently of each other).

The task of the ESC system is to prevent skidding and loss of control of a car. This is achieved by slowing down individual wheels. For example, if a driver went over with speed in a left turn, the system will gradually brake a left front wheel in order to turn a car.

The AEB system can help you avoid an accident or hitting a pedestrian The AEB system can help you avoid an accident or hitting a pedestrian

EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)

The first reaction of a driver in case of an emergency is to press a brake pedal. The only problem is that most drivers don't push it hard enough. If a car's sensors believe that emergency braking is occurring, the assistant increases pressure in brakes to the maximum, thereby shortening a braking distance.

AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking)

This system is able to brake a car independently in the event of an emergency. It works by scanning space in front of a car using LiDAR or a camera. If the system detects a dangerous approach to a car in front, it will first warn a driver with a loud signal, and then switch to automatic braking until a car comes to a complete stop to avoid an accident or reduce damage from it.

Blind Spot Assist is very helpful when changing lanes on the highway Blind Spot Assist is very helpful when changing lanes on the highway

Blind Spot Assist

Visibility around a car is an important component of safety. Therefore, such a simple mechanism as wipers can significantly worsen traffic safety if it does not work well. However, any car has so-called “blind spots”. These are sectors around a car that a driver doesn't see. The most dangerous area when driving in the city and on the highway is an area behind B-pillars, opposite rear fenders.

Any car located in these blind spots is no longer visible in the mirror, and is not yet visible in the side window. This creates a danger when changing lanes. To avoid accidents, the system uses an indication in the rear-view mirrors and signals a driver that a car is in a blind spot.

Lane Keep Assist

The essence of this system is to help a driver to keep the lane and, accordingly, a number of lanes. If a driver crosses the median for some reason, the system will warn him about this by vibrating a steering wheel. In some situations, this system may even pull a steering wheel back into the lane. This can be quite dangerous when driving on ice, so the system is deactivated in this weather.

The system helps set not only speed, but also a distance to the car in front The system helps set not only speed, but also a distance to the car in front

ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control)

If the usual cruise control is more of a comfort system, then the adaptive one can be attributed to safety systems. A car with ACC can maintain not only the speed of movement, but also the distance to the car in front, accelerating or braking.

This system in a compartment with Lane Keep Assist can even drive a car itself. Of course, this requires a good road and markings. And of course no car will allow driving in such a way for a long time.

Driver Fatigue Monitoring System

This system uses special sensors in the passenger compartment and analyzes a driver's actions to track his or her condition. If the system decides that a driver cannot safely continue driving, it will recommend to stop for rest. Of course, it is not a fact that a driver will listen to it, but it is possible that even if the electronics notice fatigue, this will be the last straw for making a decision to rest. In the future, it is possible that a car, determining that a driver is not able to continue driving safely, will be able to stop on the side of the road and not drive until a driver has rested. Such developments are already underway.

Park Assist can help you avoid a fairly serious accident if a car driving on the road is moving at a high speed Park Assist can help you avoid a fairly serious accident if a car driving on the road is moving at a high speed

Park Assist

Most accidents occur in parking lots. Yes, they are not dangerous, but unpleasant. Park Assist prevents an emergency situation when a driver does not see a car moving on the road while backing out. If the system detects such a car, it automatically uses brakes, helping to avoid an unfortunate accident.

And now just think, today most of these systems can be installed in an ordinary inexpensive middle-class car. And the main ones, such as airbags, ABS, ASC, EBD, and a strong engineering-verified body, are now available on almost all new cars. These systems have been developed and upgraded for decades by the best automotive engineers and are designed to save lives. However, even they can be completely useless if a driver does not think about his or her safety: exceeds the speed limit, violates traffic laws, or performs risky, reckless maneuvers. If you think about your safety and drive carefully, then be sure that a modern car will protect you.

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