A Guide To Honda Safety Features
Whether you bump into something parallel parking in downtown Richmond or you have a high speed accident on I64, there are several systems at work in your Honda to ensure you'll survive the crash. Understanding how these systems work and how they're interrelated makes it a lot easier to diagnose problems.
The frame and body in a modern vehicle are designed to behave a certain way in a crash to reduce injuries. Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) structure system goes beyond the shape of components, combining different grades of steel to get just the right response. In a front end impact, the front of the vehicle is designed to absorb as much of the impact as possible, crushing under the force, while the passenger compartment stays rigid, protecting the occupants inside.
What about minor collisions? That's handled by the bumpers. Underneath the covers, there's a bar mounted to a set of shock absorbers that take the impact, leaving the rest of the vehicle intact.
ABS and Traction Control
An Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) uses a gear-shaped reluctor wheel paired with a magnetic sensor on each hub to detect wheel speed. If there is a sudden drop in speed, valves are opened on the brake lines to reduce brake pressure. This keeps the tire from losing grip, putting the vehicle into a skid that will reduce control and greatly increase stopping distance.
The traction control system uses the same sensors and adds the ability to apply individual brakes. When it detects a sudden increase in wheel speed due to loss of grip, it can apply the brake to keep the tire from losing traction. It can also communicate with the ECU, telling it to close the throttle, reducing the amount of power being sent to the wheels.
Safety Restraint System
The Safety Restraint System (SRS) is made up of active safety components inside the cabin including seat belts, airbags and associated hardware.
The seat belts are designed to move freely, letting you wear them comfortably. When they're pulled suddenly, the reel system locks down, keeping you in place during a collision. This doesn't just keep you from flying out of the window, it puts you in the right spot for the airbags.
There are impact sensors on the front and sides of the vehicle that activate the airbag system. Once active, an electric charge detonates a small explosive, forcing gas into the airbag. The bag is mostly deployed by the time your body reaches it, letting you run into a cushion of air instead of hard plastic and metal. Seat sensors detect your weight and adjust the force of the air bag to match your body. Each time you turn on the ignition, the air bag's control unit goes through a full check of the system to make sure everything is working correctly.
Cabin safety goes beyond these two devices, including the seats, glass and interior panels. Everything is designed to reduce injuries as much as possible whether flexing when struck on impact or breaking in a safe way. If you don't replace broken parts, you may be leaving yourself open to increased injuries.
Rear View Camera and Sensors
Impacts from reversing usually aren't nearly as dangerous as higher speed driving collisions, but your Honda is still designed to help you avoid these accidents. The parking sensor system uses radar sensors at each corner of the vehicle that can detect objects up to two feet away as well as an array at the rear that senses objects up to 3.5 feet away. Newer vehicles pair this with a rear view camera. The system can draw guidelines over the camera image on your infotainment system, showing exactly where your vehicle will go based on wheel position.
It may be awhile before we start seeing self-driving cars on the road, but the same technology being developed to control vehicles can also be used to avoid accidents. In recent years, Honda has been rolling out these driving functions as a suite of driver aids called “Honda Sensing.” This system uses a radar sensor at the front of the vehicle along with a small camera mounted at the top of the windshield to determine the position of vehicles, obstacles and lane markings. Faded road markings and bad weather can limit the visibility of these sensors and the effectiveness of the system, so it isn't active all the time. There are four key functions of the system:
- Lane Departure Warning (LDM) uses the camera to detect when the vehicle is drifting out of the lane, flashing an alert to notify the driver.
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) will vibrate the wheel and turn on a warning on the dash if the system detects the vehicle is drifting off the road. Drift too far, and the system can actually steer and apply the brakes to get the car back into position. This function is active between 45 and 90 mph.
- The Forward Collision Warning (FCW) uses the radar to detect vehicles ahead that pose a possible collision risk. If such a condition is detected, it will use audio and visual signals to alert the driver. If a collision is imminent, the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CBMS) will apply the brakes. It may not be able to avoid the collision entirely, but the reduced speed greatly decreases the resulting damage.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates braking systems like CBMS could reduce injury claims by up to 35% in rear end accidents. With about half of all crashes involving rear end collisions, almost two million crashes could be prevented each year if all cars had this system.