Active Safety


Definition - What does Active Safety mean?

Active safety, also called primary safety, is a term that refers to automobile safety systems that are designed to reduce the likelihood of a crash, collision, or other vehicle accident. As a technological solution designed to prevent or mitigate driving accidents and other safety incidents, active safety measures can be considered a type of engineering control.


Active safety measures include technology that is designed to produce safer driving behavior, warn drivers of potential oncoming hazards, and automatically activate in the event that the vehicle’s conditions become high-risk. Active safety is fundamentally concerned with the prevention of crashes or the mitigation of their severity. Equipment that is designed to support driver safety in the event of a crash, such as airbags, are referred to as passive safety measures.

Safeopedia explains Active Safety

Traditional active safety measures rely on technology such as hydraulics and electrical systems that are designed to make safe driving easier. These include powered hydraulic braking systems, electric power brakes, and the velocity sensors that accelerometers rely upon. Active safety features that feature basic electronic control systems, such as anti-lock braking systems, are another common form of active safety measure.


Traditionally, active and passive safety measures could be distinguished via the fact that active safety measures were “always on,” whereas passive features such as airbags or crumple zones are only activated by a collision or other safety incident. Recently developed forms of active safety technology lack the “always on” features of traditional active safety measures, but retain the fact that they are activated prior to the event of an accident, as opposed to only coming into play once an accident has occurred.


Many recently developed active safety features rely upon sophisticated computer equipment to process information linked to external sensors or to carry out safety-sensitive mechanical tasks. These features include active park assist, object (collision) detection systems, and rear-facing cameras. Active safety systems use sensors both to provide feedback for the vehicle driver and to guide the use of safety systems that carry out mechanical tasks (e.g., automatic braking upon detection of an imminent collision).

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