Glossary of Safety Terms



Next to the driver's attention and skill behind the wheel, the most important ingredients for motoring safety are a vehicle's accident-avoidance features. These are sometimes referred to as "active safety" features because, in simple terms, they "actively" help the driver avoid an accident. Typical scenarios where active safety features may help the driver include slippery winter conditions, winding mountain roads, or sudden traffic jams on the freeway.


It was about 50 years ago when Newton's First Law of Motion began to be seriously considered by the automobile industry. The law? In part, it states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion-unless acted upon by an outside force. Over the course of the last half-century, great scientific research has focused on dispersing kinetic energy in a crash. The effort has yielded such standard features as seatbelts, collapsible steering columns, shoulder belts with emergency-locking retractors, airbags, unibody crush zones, and other features that provide an even higher level of protection.
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