Technology that Looks Out for You on the Road? Toyota Safety Sense  Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, At Your Service

Toyota Safety Sense

Your mother would approve.

“It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s all the other people I don’t trust!” If your mom said it once she said it a million times, right?

Well, now she can relax. Toyota Safety Sense is looking out for other drivers, and looking out for you, on the road. This little suite of safety systems, standard in all Toyota models, monitors traffic, hits the brakes before you can, monitors the lines on the road and the road signs, all to keep you safe and help you focus on getting there safely.

And we all know that focusing on driving, with more traffic and more distractions than ever, is increasingly more difficult.

Related: The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited is Everything You Want in a Small SUV

Toyota realizes you should have this, so it’s standard.

OK, so we get it: Those beeping and blinking indicators are enough to drive you nuts. They are telling you something but it’s not always clear what. It can take some attention and trial and error to figure it out, especially since they go off sometimes but not others, and often they make noise at precisely the time you can’t look away from the road to see what’s going on.

TSS—Toyota Safety Sense— comprises these basic things:

  • Dynamic radar cruise control, also known as adaptive cruise control or ACC: Set the cruse control and the car will follow the speed of traffic ahead of you. The car will actually monitor traffic up to 100 yards ahead, so even if you don’t see that cute little sports car hit its brakes, your Toyota will.
  • Follow distance control: this works hand in hand with ACC; a button with a car and lines behind it is near the cruise control setting; tap it to follow more closely or with more distance between you and the car ahead of you
  • Lane departure alert and lane trace assist: These two functions also work hand in hand; lane departure alert detects when you’ve driven outside the road markings without using your turn signal, beeping and lighting a dashboard icon. Lane trace assist, if it’s engaged when ACC is in use, uses cameras to monitor road markings and works to keep the car centered in its lane.
  • Road sign assist: using the car’s forward facing cameras, the system monitors road signs and displays them in the driver information cluster, on the navigation screen (when using the Toyota navigation system) and also, if available, in the head up display.
  • Automatic high beam headlights: These are set-and-it-and-forget-it bright lights; once set, a camera on the front of the car detects other cars, people and highly reflective surfaces and dims the headlights so as not to blind anyone.
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection: this system monitors traffic, pedestrians, and on some systems, bicyclists, and alerts you if a crash is likely. The system will also pre-apply the brakes if it detects that a crash is likely so that by the time you hit the brakes you’re already that much closer to stopping.

To really tell the story about these systems, we asked several of our friends to hop into a Toyota equipped with TSS and give us some feedback about what they like, what they were nervous about and what they found comforting. Here’s what they said.

Related: 2019 Toyota Sienna XLE: How it Saved My Family Time – and My Sanity

Yes, Getting Used to These Features Can Take a Little Bravery

“I’m not going to lie, adaptive cruise control terrifies me,” said Monica Siembieda who blogs at Jersey Girl Texan Heart. “And so does autonomous driving. If it doesn’t terrify you, this car comes equipped with it,” she said of the Toyota RAV4, so you can try it out and get used to it.

ACC, like all the TSS features, is essentially a baby step to autonomous driving. So while it takes some getting used to, “this safety feature helps set a safe speed and distance between you and the car in front of you,” Monica explained. And when our cars are ready to go fully autonomous, you’ll be ready to.

Related: It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, So We Toured Iconic Latin Culture Destinations in a Toyota Corolla

Driver Assist Technology Completes the Suite of Great Features

Lillie Morales, who blogs at Jersey Fashionista found TSS, along with the “7-inch touchscreen, Apple CaPlay, 5 USB ports and a bird’s eye view camera made the Toyota Sienna” perfect for time in the car with friends. “It has so many great features aside from being comfy and spacious,” she said.

“If you have your phone GPS plugged in, the music does quiet down for the GPS to give you directions,” Monica said. “I know some cars don’t do that and some people are really particular about that feature.”

Tech is Critical for Getting Around in a New Place. And We like to Go Places!

And, it’s such a key feature in cars these days. Tomika Bryant, who blogs at Life in Pumps, finds it critical. She relies on navigation or Apple CarPlay when she travels. “I always hit the local mall. Not because I need anything but I’m just nosey. I jumped in the Toyota Corolla and realized that we are a great shopping combination. We both like a big bang for our buck. The gas mileage, ease of ride and the trunk space are an added bonus.”

Erica Mueller of Texas Drive blog was able to relax and enjoy the ride in the Toyota Sienna. “I love the captains chairs in the second row. So comfortable! And there are so many USB hookups in this car: two in the center console, one in the console that has the temperature control, and two in the back.”

Driver Assist Features Help you Get Better … MPG?

Karen Proctor of Apple Moms Hudson Valley was surprised by the fuel economy, which we have tested and found is typically better than you can get on your own when using ACC. “Let’s Go Places … I did in Atlanta while checking out the new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE. The gas mileage is over 50MPG which is perfect for commuters and anyone who likes to go places regularly, like me!”

And in a city like Atlanta, where traffic is a bear and everyone’s time is a premium, getting better fuel economy, not losing your mind and staying safe in traffic is will make your mom happy.

Disclosure: These ladies participated in a ride and drive event hosted by A Girls Guide to Cars and for which Toyota provided vehicles. All opinions are our own.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss