Vehicle Stability Control is a revolutionary technology that has helped reduce the number of accidents dramatically by assisting drivers in controlling lateral skidding. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that passenger cars equipped with VSC are involved in 35% fewer car accidents than those without the technology. For SUVs, the difference is even more dramatic – those with VSC are involved in 67% fewer accidents.

Toyota became one of the pioneers in developing vehicle stability control systems in the late 1980s by examining how tanks are maneuvered. Through a revolutionary technology designed to control the right and left brakes separately, Toyota took a new approach to brake design that reduces the chances of lateral skidding.

Toyota featured its first version of the VSC system on the 1995 Crown Majesta.

How Does It Work?

Sensors can detect that the vehicle is skidding sideways, and when this happens, Toyota’s Vehicle Stability Control system can apply braking force independently to any of the four wheels while automatically controlling engine output. Together, these careful adjustments help to prevent lateral skidding.

The VSC system electronically monitors speed and direction, and compares the vehicle's direction of travel with the driver's steering, acceleration and braking inputs. VSC can help compensate for loss of traction which can cause skids. It utilizes some components shared with the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and an electronically controlled engine throttle as well as a dedicated computer and sensors providing information to the VSC system. These include a yaw rate sensor, a G-sensor and a steering angle sensor. When VSC is active, a warning beep tone and instrument panel warning light indicate that the system is functioning. In many cases, VSC reacts well before the driver is aware of a loss of traction. As with other safety technologies, such as anti-lock brakes, it is important to drive safely, since Vehicle Stability Control cannot defy the laws of physics, nor can it provide more traction than exists in a given condition.

While VSC has revolutionized vehicle steering and traction control, it does have limits. The system cannot provide more traction than exists between the vehicle and the road surface, and it cannot prevent lateral skidding if the driver makes extreme steering actions.