High Tech Is Making Treacherous Travel Manageable

Thursday, November 30th 2006, 11:03 am
By: News On 6

It's easy to see how on days like this, drivers slip-slide all over the roads. As News on 6 anchor Terry Hood shows us, the newest technology for cars makes that next to impossible.

Each manufacturer calls it something different. For Ford, it's "interactive vehicle dynamics." GM vehicles have "Stabili-Trak". And on Toyotas, it's "vehicle stability control", or VSC. Every new Toyota SUV comes with VSC standard.

Ken Spencer from Jim Norton Toyota took us out in a 4-Runner to put VSC to the test. He says a tiny computer is linked up to the vehicle's engine and brakes. If the car senses a driver is out-of-control, the VSC computer adjusts engine speed and can brake any or all of the wheels individually.

It's all automatic, perfect for drivers who panic in scary situations, but Spencer says it's a pain for thrill-seekers. "If you want to go and do doughnuts in the parking lot, it's more difficult because the car is going to try to keep going straight, so it takes away some of the fun things we used to do with cars, but it's a lot safer than it used to be too."

And some new models are even more advanced. All manufactures offer stability control as an option. It usually runs between $600 and $900.