Toyota is serious when it comes to safety, but our work goes beyond what’s in our cars. We do a lot of driver education projects and participate in a number of partnerships that advance the field of auto safety.
As you read through a Toyota Owner’s Manual, or even as you view this site, you may hear about the Star Safety System™ and wonder what it is. It’s a suite of six safety systems designed to help when you are in harm’s way, and it comes standard in every new Toyota. The system specifics typically consist of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), 7 Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) 8 and Smart Stop Technology® (SST). 9
By reading data from the ABS wheel-speed sensors, TRAC can tell if a drive wheel is turning faster than the wheel on the opposite side, which can indicate a loss of traction. When TRAC detects slippage, the system can automatically reduce engine power until the wheel that is slipping slows and regains traction. If reducing engine power isn't enough, the braking system will slow that wheel by pulsing the brake of that wheel.
When a wheel loses traction, a vehicle is hard to control – and that’s why ABS was invented. ABS uses magnetic wheel-speed sensors and a computer to monitor all four wheels while a vehicle is in motion. When the brakes are applied, and a wheel (or wheels) begins to decelerate faster than the others, the system can recognize that it’s losing traction or locked up. In response, the system rapidly pulses the brake at that wheel until it begins to roll at the same speed as the others. At the same time, it maintains brake pressure on the wheels with better grip to help prevent skidding.
Brake Assist (BA) 8 is designed to detect sudden, or “panic,” braking, and assist the driver in stopping the vehicle, adding additional brake pressure if Brake Assist senses that the driver is braking too lightly.
SST 9 is designed to automatically reduce engine power when both the brake and accelerator pedals are pressed at the same time under certain conditions.
EBD is a feature of the Anti-lock Brake System, which helps make up for shifting weight under hard braking. It reduces brake pressure on wheels carrying the least amount of weight, helping your vehicle stay in control.
VSC 7 helps prevent wheelslip and loss of traction by reducing engine power and applying brake force to wheels that need it. The system reads data from a steering wheel sensor and the ABS wheel-speed sensors to determine if the vehicle is following the driver’s steering inputs. If the vehicle is deviating from the direction in which the driver is steering, VSC is designed to reduce engine power and pulse the left- or right-side brakes to help correct the situation.