Some safety features on your car work without your assistance such as your air bag, which is engaged not by any manual effort on the part of the operator but by impact. These types of features are called passive features and are considered safer than active features because they require no effort from the vehicle operator in order to activate them. Every vehicle is equipped with both passive features and active features, and each of these has their own sets of controls for operation. Let us discuss the air bag that was mentioned earlier. The operator does not have to push any buttons, turn on any switches, or do anything for this to become operational, so your air bag is a passive feature. The air bag is operated solely upon impact: when your vehicle is struck with force causing enough impact, the air bag will automatically deploy.
On the other hand, active features require some kind of action by the operator in order to become operational. The brakes, for example, require the operator to apply pressure with the foot in order to stop the vehicle. Even the emergency brake - or parking brake - requires the operator to perform some action with either the foot or hand in order to engage this feature. When you think about the time element that is involved, there is no denying that passive features are safer. After all, in the time the driver takes to think to apply the brake or engage the emergency brake, the car could have already become involved in a crash. If brakes were one of the passive features, a trigger would have been installed on the vehicle so that the brakes would automatically have engaged and stopped the vehicle before a crash occurred. Certainly, the idea of brakes becoming automatic is a technologically advanced idea, which was used just for the purpose of illustration and is not to be considered as something that can really happen. Some vehicles are also equipped so that when the engine becomes too hot, the engine automatically shuts down which prevents the possibility of engine damage caused by radiator or cooling system problems.
Based on information available on both passive and active features, it should stand to reason that the passive features provide a much safer product than active features since no manual activation is required. This in itself is the safer of the two since active features require some type of manual operation, meaning the operator has to take the time to consider the options and perform the operation. The passive aspect of not having to stop and think about an operation of a safety mechanism means it can be performed in less time and thereby avert a potential disaster. Give a thought for a moment, if you will, about the number of drivers who fail to use directional signals. The number of accidents that could be saved if these little features could be made passive, and certainly it would be easier than brakes.
Many new vehicles have turned headlights and taillights into passive features by incorporating within the car's electrical system information that tells the lights to activate at any time the car's engine is running. Door locks are another feature that have become passive features in newer cars, either locking whenever the car is in gear or when it reaches a certain speed. It has been a long time coming, but these passive features are going to increase the safety of vehicles on the road and save many lives in the process.