The STAR Safety System's safety components
Vehicle Stability Control System (VSC)
Vehicle stability control is nothing new per se, but it is new as a standard feature; previously you would only find it as a very expensive option or on a high-end, so-called luxury brand. VSC is a very important feature of modern day cars, as it prevents wheelslip and loss of traction while driving, which is significantly more important on wet roads albeit not exclusive. By reducing engine power and applying optimal brake pressure to the wheels that need it - meaning independent power outputs to each brake if need be - VSC-equipped vehicles such as a new Toyota with the STAR Safety System are able to negotiate a corner, for example, where unequipped vehicles could either spin out of control or shoot right off the road. Obviously regardless of what occurs without vehicle stability control, chaos and ultimately danger looms at either extreme.
Wheelslip occurs on the front tires when traction is lost and the tires begin to drift towards the outside of the turn. In other words, you are attempting to negotiate a right turn, your tires slip and you drift to the left, and a crash ensues. Rear wheelslip on the other hand happens when your vehicle's tires lose traction and the rear end of the vehicle starts to sway, allowing for the possibility of your vehicle veering too far to the right. Toyota's new vehicle stability control system's computer references the steering angle and senses the direction your vehicle is traveling, thereby deciphering which direction the driver wants to go. If the VSC system senses these two qualities are not coinciding the safety system will initiate as mentioned above by dropping the engine power and applying the brakes at the a perfect force per wheel. Ultimately this enhances the likelihood of keeping you and your vehicle on the road - the ultimate goal indeed.
Traction Control System (TRAC)
Another component of the STAR Safety System that has also been on high end vehicles as an extra for some time, traction control is another part of the standard equipment on all new Toyota vehicles in the greater Burlington, VT area. Traction control helps maintain traction on wet and icy roads, loose graveled roads, or uneven roads by slowing the spinning of a particular wheel (or several independent wheels) that may be over rotating due to the loss of traction.
On top of keeping drivers better adhered to the road at all times, the traction control system of Toyota's STAR Safety System also helps keep a car from getting stuck in the winter months immensely - an obvious benefit in the St. Albans, VT and northern New York areas. When the TRAC system senses even one tire spinning at a slightly different revolution than the rest, it reduces engine power to whichever wheel or wheels needed applies the brakes in a similar fashion as discussed above for the vehicle stability control component. By transferring the power, your Toyota will be at the optimal level of traction to get away from the bumpy, wet, gravelly, snow-covered, or otherwise impeding road quality that would have normally caused some trouble.
Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)
We do not need to delve into anti-lock brakes or ABS too deeply as many of you are aware of this feature that has been around for a long time. However to repeat, just like with many of these other features in today's automotive world it isn't a guaranteed feature... unless you buy a Toyota.
The bottom line with the ABS safety system is that most people panic when they are about to collide with another car, or any thing for that matter. Simple human reaction dictates that we hit the brake pedal as our minds tell us to stop this one-ton machine from colliding with another item or, at best, the savvy driver might even remember to "pump the brakes," a technique that was simulated and perfected by the anti-lock brake system.
ABS employs this pumping technique at a much faster frequency than our feet could muster. Have you ever hit an icy or wet patch in a street, almost bumped into someone's rear end on a busy street, or something of the sort that caused you to panic and jam the brakes? You know that loud vibrating sound you heard? That was your ABS system kicking in; a standard option on all Toyota's that you'd normally pay extra for.
Brake Assist System
As stated with the ABS system, when we as drivers see a collision or other problem coming towards our investment or personal and/or familial safety, we tend to jam on the brakes. Brake assist detects this human error and corrects the effort by applying the brakes correctly. When we see something coming - a child running out in the street for example - we only have a second to react and instinctively apply 100% brake force to stop your car. As we all know, this leads to skidding and actually does more harm than good. But in a moment of panic, it's hard for rationale to overcome panic; it's not very hard for a computer to overcome our fears though. The STAR Safety System's standard brake assist system compensates for our panicking, whether the system detects too much or not enough pressure on the brakes, and compensates thusly. This heightens your chances of not hitting anyone or anything or flying off the road.
Electronic Brake-force Distribution System (EBD)
In conjunction with Toyota's already stellar anti-lock braking system, the electronic brake-force distribution system on all new Toyota vehicles thanks to the STAR Safety System can help keep your vehicle more balanced during harsh braking. When you stop suddenly, the momentum of your vehicle still lunges forward, causing the vehicle's weight to shift to the front. This makes brake pressure on the rear wheels less advantageous.
The EBD system senses this, determines if the shift in momentum was normal or not, and applies a majority of the brake force to the front wheels to help slow you. This becomes more significant when cargo is being hauled, as the EBD system will notice this as well and allowing for the proper braking pressure to be applied.