Toyota car safety: stability and control technologies

Toyota develops its vehicles and technology under the umbrella of an ‘Integrated Safety Management Concept’, one part of a three-pronged approach which involves continual improvement in vehicle safety as well as initiatives to improve driver and pedestrian awareness and to create a safe traffic environment.

Toyota’s eventual aim is to realise a society where traffic accidents are a thing of the past, which is why decades of research into safety technologies have resulted in Toyota cars receiving consistently high results in Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with the Prius,  Yaris, Auris, Verso, Avensis and RAV4 achieving the maximum five-star award.

In this post, we take a look at how Toyota’s safety technologies maintain stability in all manner of driving conditions:

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC/VSC+)
Traction Control (TRC)
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
Downhill Assist Control (DAC)

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC/VSC+)

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is a technology that Toyota has used on its vehicles since 1995, aimed at maintaining stability and preventing skidding in slippery conditions or as the result of sudden steering as when avoiding a collision. When sensors detect that the vehicle is starting to skid sideways, VSC automatically activates individual brakes and regulates engine output to regain stability and control, significantly reducing the risk of an accident.

All Toyota passenger vehicles feature either VSC or the latest Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+) system that adds steering control to automatically apply steering assistance and make it easier to get back on course.

Traction Control (TRC)

Toyota’s history with Traction Control (TRC) dates back to 1987, and the technology has continually been updated as cars have become more sophisticated. The Traction Control system is designed to prevent wheel spin when setting off or accelerating on wet or slippery roads.

Sensors monitor each wheel’s speed to detect wheel spin, at which point TRC will intervene to apply the brakes or reduce engine power in an attempt to regain grip and provide stable acceleration. It’s particularly beneficial in a rear-wheel drive car like the Toyota GT86 where a loss of traction could cause the car to spin.

Traction Control is fitted to all of Toyota’s current passenger vehicles with the exception of the Toyota Aygo.

Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)

Introduced in 2002, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) assists in preventing low-speed collisions caused by rolling backwards while attempting to set off on an incline. When the driver has selected a forward gear, a firmer push on the brake pedal activates HAC, which in turn maintains brake pressure for up to two seconds after the brake pedal has been released. This prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards and ensures a smooth start.

Hill-start Assist Control is available on a most Toyota models including RAV4, Auris, new Prius, Prius+, Verso and Land Cruiser.

Downhill Assist Control (DAC)

Downhill Assist Control (DAC) has also been fitted to Toyota cars since 2002, and is designed to maintain stability in travelling downhill in off-road conditions. When activated, the DAC system applies individual brakes to keep the vehicle stable and maintain a constant speed of three to 4.5mph during descent. It works in forward or reverse gears and requires no pedal input from the driver, who can then concentrate fully on the task of navigating the terrain.

Downhill Assist Control is standard equipment on RAV4 and Land Cruiser models.

To learn more about other Toyota safety technologies, see these related posts:

Braking technologies
Monitoring systems
Occupant safety
Safety through convenience


  1. Hello,
    I have recently bought a pre-owned (Sept 2014) Auris Touring Sports Excel HSD. The instruction manual describes the Hill Start Assist Control but I can’t get it to activate. My dealer says that this option does not apply to the Hybrid because of the CVT transmission. Is this correct? I have noticed on steep inclines the CVT can roll back significantly (unlike other auto boxes which I have used before).

    1. Hi Dave
      Thanks for your post.
      Sorry to hear about your issue with the Hill Start Assist Control. Your car does have this feature and we are sorry if you were told otherwise. To activate it you need to push hard down on the brake, the car will go beep beep and the skid light will flash on the dashboard. When it releases it will go beep and the light goes out. This will hold the car for a few seconds once the brake is released. We recommend that you try this somewhere safe beforehand.
      We hope this helps but let us know how you get on and whether you have any other questions.

      1. Hi. My hill assist light comes on and system engages on a flat surface with only medium press on the brake pedal. Basically when I don’t need or want it. Is this a fault or else ? Can I deactivate the system? Or what needs to be checked?
        Thank you

      2. Hi Ray, thanks for your question.

        If you think there is an issue with your vehicle, please contact your Toyota Centre. They can physically inspect your vehicle and detect if there is a problem.


  2. Hi, today I bought Toyota auris icon plus 2014 and I’ve noticed I’ve got tire pressure light on after driving for few miles but all tires seems to be ok so could you advice what other reason is for that?? also could you advice if this model is fitted with speed limiter as that’s what it was saying on the advert?
    finally, if the car had only 1 owner before me was 1st registered in UK in march 2015 is it still on 3 years Toyota warranty??

  3. Hello,

    Hill Assist stop working after 40,000 service in Toyota Auris.

    Never had any issues previously and it was working fine before service, but now car significantly roll back on the hill.

    What could be the issue?



    1. Hi Xenia,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      We’d advise taking your vehicle to your local Toyota center, where they can confirm that the system is working (or not working) correctly and if a defect is found, they can rectify it.
      You can find your nearest dealer here:

  4. Hi
    I have seen on YouTube reports that when deactivating the traction control on the fwd RAV4 (2017) it engages asd.
    With the orange lights on display showing traction control off but the automatic limited slip diff light on.
    I can’t find anything in the handbook referring to an asd so am a little confused.
    Is this something that wasn’t available on the uk version ?
    2018 RAV4 hybrid design 2wd.


  5. Hi, can u please tell me on what car Toyota is install the revolutionary VDIM (vehicles dynamic integrated menegement)
    Another question is if u can put an history of VSC sister and I mean what is the difference on first generation of VSC till to latest fifth generation of VDIM!

  6. Can you advise if Toyota Yaris 2014 1.33 Trend has Hill start assist? I am looking to purchase this model but the dealer is unsure if it comes with this feature.

    1. Hi Brandy,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      If you can provide us with the reg of the car you are looking at, we can then look into this further for you.

      1. Hi Max,
        Thanks for your comment.
        Our records show that neither vehicle is equipped with Hill Start Assist.
        Please let us know if you have any further questions.

  7. I have a 2018 Proace which sadly has hill start assist. This annoying feature apparently can not be turned off. I have been driving many years and in all other vehicles I can hill start without the handbrake or the vehicle moving back. The Proace results in a stall every time, 2 seconds is far too long for an experienced driver. Otherwise the vehicle is fine. Is there anything I can do to make the vehicle not know it’s on a hill?

    1. Hi Keith,
      Thanks for your comment.
      That is correct – the hill start assist control system cannot be deactivated.
      Our technical team have advised that the ESP system is always active when the ignition is on so can’t be tampered with or disabled as it’s an integral vehicle system.
      We would recommend speaking to your nearest Toyota Centre to demonstrate the issue you are having and see if they are able to provide any tips.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      If you can provide us with the vehicle registration or model year of the RAV4, we can look into this for you.

  8. Hi,
    I have recently prchased a Toyota Aygo ( 2018 year ). On the advertisement, it staed that it had Hill start assist. However, I am rolling back slighly when on an upward hill.
    Please can hyou advise if it should have hill assist.
    Many thanks

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