Had you been driving one of many new Lexus, Scion or Toyota models equipped with active and passive safety systems, there might not have been a Wham! in the first place. Just an adrenalin rush. Celebrated for building usually durable, sometimes hip, increasingly more environmentally responsible vehicles that reflect a passionate pursuit of perfection, Toyota Motor Corporation is also focusing its tremendous engineering and marketing resources on safety – and not just because the subject is a big selling point these days. These active and passive technologies, along with others being developed at an increasing rate, work together to potentially reduce injury and to possibly help you avoid the accident in the first place.
Case in point: The company equips every new sport-utility vehicle it sells with what it calls a Star Safety Package. Since the 2004 model year, every Lexus and Toyota suv is equipped with traction control, stability control, and antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. The Star Safety Package includes active safety features, which are different from passive safety features. Passive safety refers to items that work to reduce injury once an accident has occurred, such as seatbelts and airbags. Active safety refers to technology that is designed to help the driver avoid the accident in the first place. And Toyota has been working overtime creating new active safety systems.
To allow reporters the opportunity to test some of its latest active safety developments in a controlled environment, Toyota invited the press to its proving grounds in the Sonoran desert near Phoenix to exercise technology that cannot be seen but can definitely be felt when driving conditions go from sublime to extreme.