Making Sense of Safety Features on New Cars

There’s been quite a leap in the last few years. Most of us would struggle to keep up with all the new safety acronyms we hear manufacturers pack into their cars these days. It did not seem that long ago how grateful we were when the family car was equipped with 5 airbags and ABS brakes, woohoo we were safer than ever!

Welcome to the next level in vehicle safety - Toyota Safety Sense

Toyota USA released a video recently which humorously depicts the new life of a crash test dummy. Sadly for him but not for humans, it shows how the humble test dummy no longer has a role in testing Toyota vehicles because they are so safe with the rollout of  Toyota’s Safety Sense technology.  

Please take a moment to watch the funny yet informative video.

So what are all these new safety features?

In addition to the stronger and more flexible frames, ABS and airbags, we now get a reversing camera and parking sensors in most new Toyota models as standard these days. If you are driving one of our SUVs or 4X4 you may also be accustomed to Hill Assist, the Multi Terrain Anti-Lock Braking System, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Active Traction Control (A-TRC) or CRAWL Control with Off-road Turn Assist. 

So Toyota, like all manufacturers like to invent a lot of acronyms like those above and many more such as ACC, CAS, LDA, BSM (that's a Blind Spot Monitor) which we won’t elaborate on here. All you need to understand is they all assist the driver to steer and brake better, avoid collisions and prevent serious injury.

In light of all this confusion, Toyota decided to package a common set of these safety features under one logical name - Toyota Safety Sense or TSS.

For some models like Corolla, Toyota Safety Sense had been available as an option for some time and is now standard equipment on C-HR, RAV4, Prado and Camry.

Overview of TSS Features

Active Cruise Control

ACC keeps a constant distance between you and the vehicle ahead. By using a milliwave radar to constantly monitor the gap, Active Cruise Control can help you to maintain a set space from the vehicle in front. It will also automatically accelerate or slow down to compensate for the vehicle in front varying its speed.


Automatic High Beam

Automatic High Beam (AHB) uses a camera to sense either approaching headlights or the taillights ahead and automatically switch between high and low beam as needed to help you maintain safe and considerate driving.


Lane Departure Alert

Lane Departure Alert (LDA) [B4][B1] is triggered when your car drifts from its lane which can be a serious safety hazard. It provides a visible and audible alert should you inadvertently deviate from your lane, helping keep you, your passengers and other vehicles safe.


Pre-Collision Safety System

Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS)[B4][B1] uses an integrated camera and laser/radar to help detect other vehicles in front of you. Basically, it prompts you to take action using audio and visual alerts if it determines a frontal collision is likely. It will also additional braking force using Brake Assist. However, if you don’t brake in time, PCS may automatically apply the brakes for you.


Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection

This is basically the Pre-Collision Safety with Pedestrian Detection[B2][B1].  It utilises a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) radar to identify any imminent threat and issue a visible and audible alert. As with PCS, Brake Assist applies additional force to slow and reduce speed if the system judges a collision to be unavoidable.

PRe Collision ALert

So there you have it, even if you didn't read all the technical, boring details on what makes up the components of Toyota Safety Sense, all you need to know is Toyota has you covered when it comes to keeping you, your family and other people safer on the roads.


[B1]TSS/TSS+ is not available for all models and grades. For more information about the availability of TSS/TSS+ driver assist packages for Toyota models and grades ask your dealer or visit the range page of your preferred vehicle on

[B2]TSS+ with Pedestrian Detection is a driver assist feature only and not a substitute for safe driving practices. Driver remains responsible at all times for safe driving. Pedestrians may not be detected in certain conditions including low and harsh light, where partially obstructed from view, where clothing or movement obscures or effects body contours, persons under 1 metre or over 2 metres tall and where carrying or pushing large objects.

[B4]Reversing camera, Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Active Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Collision Safety system (PCS) including Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Brake Assist (BA), Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Toyota Safety Sense+ are driver assist features only and not a substitute for safe driving practices. Driver remains responsible at all times for safe driving.