News 24 | These are the most important active and passive safety features of modern cars

Every time you drive, you take a risk. Experimenting with a ton or more of metal is a dangerous task, after all, not to mention all the other people doing the same thing around you. Fortunately, automakers are doing their best to reduce these risks by endowing their creativity with a variety of vehicle safety and security devices and systems. They are divided into two separate categories, active and passive security features. The common query is what is the actual difference, or more important in discussing active versus passive security features. Both types are designed to ensure your survival, but knowing how they do their jobs is important information that can influence your decision when buying a car.

Active vs Passive Security Features

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the vehicle safety devices that fall into each category, it’s best to explain how a vehicle’s safety and security features work. Passive safety systems are those that intervene in the event of an automobile accident or collision. Until the time your vehicle hits something, you will likely never feel its presence. However, these systems do a lot to mitigate the damage, both to the vehicle and its occupants.

Active vehicle safety devices are slightly different. While they can work to minimize damage, their primary concern is to avoid it completely. These vehicle safety features monitor the situation around the vehicle and warn the driver of impending danger; These are designed to prevent accidents as much as possible. In some cases, these systems can participate automatically, and others require the driver to take action.

Common passive security features

With all the advanced technology we have today, it’s somewhat surprising how many passive safety devices our cars have. On the plus side, every listed passive safety feature comes standard on all modern cars, whether it’s an affordable Nissan or something as luxurious as a Rolls-Royce. These include:

seat belts:

seat belt

First introduced in the late 19th century, modern examples of these devices have been significantly improved from what initially was just a lap belt.

Volvo first introduced the three-point seat belt in 1959, and Mercedes-Benz added pre-tension technology in 1981. Now, seat belts fit the human body better and tighten almost instantly when a sudden movement of the occupant occurs. Seat belts are the most obvious passive safety device that keeps drivers and passengers safe in their seats and not thrown out of windows or around the cabin, causing serious injury or death.


Concealed until needed, airbags are another essential piece of equipment. Considering the number of lives they save.

The first airbag was invented in 1953 and was only included in commercial vehicles from 1972 onwards. These inflatable cushions are activated when the vehicle’s collision sensors malfunction. The igniter in the device generates heat to decompose the sodium azide, producing a large amount of nitrogen gas that inflates the bag almost instantly.

This protects the head and upper body from hitting the hard steering wheel or dashboard. Today, airbag installations can include anywhere from four to ten units, as found on the Chevrolet Malibu, which includes front knee airbags and side airbags for all outboard seats.


Deformation/breakdown areas:

Not so much an advantage as a simple engineering trick, the car’s deformation areas are no less important than the above technologies. Metal is naturally very hard, and when it absorbs an impact, force can ripple through it rather violently. In order to reduce this, these crease areas are specifically designed to buckle in a controlled manner. This means that the force is dissipated before it reaches the cabin and can cause harm to the occupants.


high strength glass:

Most people don’t realize that your car windshield serves a purpose, either. Your windshield actually adds to structural safety – up to 45% of your vehicle’s structural safety in direct collisions comes from windshields and up to 60% in rollovers.

Active Security Features

These are all the fancy gadgets your local agency salesperson will mention to you when you show up on the showroom floor. Typically, you’ll find that more expensive models, such as luxury car brands, have a long list of active safety features, but most modern cars come with at least a few basics.

safe distance

Backup camera:

Every new vehicle in the United States must be equipped with one of these. A camera located at the rear of the vehicle transmits an image to the infotainment screen or even the rearview mirror to assist the driver when reversing. This can be very useful when trying to get back to a parking space. Many vehicles also include parking sensors, which will let the driver know when they are approaching an obstacle with audio and visual signals.

Blind spot help:

Like the sensors mentioned above, this system adds an additional camera or radar systems to the side of the vehicle. They are aimed specifically at areas that are difficult for the driver to see, usually around the B and C pillars, where blind spots appear. The system then alerts the driver when the vehicle or object is within this area with a warning light on the outside mirrors, and may sound a warning if the driver takes any action that could result in a collision.

blind spot

speed control:

There are several different examples of this system. The basic version simply locks in the car’s current speed and slightly accelerates or brakes in order to maintain it. However, he does not drive the car for you. A more advanced iteration is radar cruise control, or adaptive cruise control, which uses sensors to maintain the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This will slow the vehicle to avoid potential collisions or increase speed when it is safe to do so.

brake assist:

Again, there are several variations of this technique. The most common is ABS (anti-lock brakes), which causes the brakes to pulsate rather than using one long brake reaction. This reduces the risk of “locking up”, which can cause the vehicle to slip uncontrollably.

More advanced examples include Auto Brake Assist, which works in conjunction with sensors to initiate braking when an impending collision is detected.

child seats

Keep lane, leave lane, or change lane:

These features all have the same goal, which is to ensure that you stay safely on the right track. The lane-keeping or lane-departure warning system monitors your lane with cameras and will give you a warning, sometimes via haptic feedback on the steering wheel, if the vehicle veers off the lane.

The car may even attempt to correct your lane if it detects a drift. In a similar way, the Lane Change Assist system works by warning the driver if a lane change is dangerous.

Cross Traffic Alert:

When exiting a parking lot, especially when reversing, a cross-traffic alert uses radar to detect approaching vehicles that you may not be able to see. It’s commonly activated when reverse gear is selected, but forward cross-traffic alert isn’t becoming more common either.


Driver attention alert:

Designed to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue or lack of attention, this system monitors steering input patterns and uses sensors that detect corrections that may indicate a driver is struggling to maintain correct lane position. It will then issue a warning to take a break.

Car Exit Assistant:

This feature monitors the areas on the left and right side seams of the vehicle and warns you if you cannot open the door safely.

There are a lot more active safety systems than passive ones, like cameras that recognize traffic lights, or even some parking and robotic driving assistants. Electronic stability control is also included in this list because it helps prevent you from losing control when braking sharply. Most of these systems fall under a safety suite, such as the Toyota Safety Sense, which is included in the latest Toyota models such as the Toyota RAV.