What Weird Safety Feature Never Caught On?

Illustration for article titled What Weird Safety Feature Never Caught On?

With safety once again being a hot-button issue in the car world, maybe more than it’s been in decades, it wouldn’t hurt to look back on the things that didn’t work.


One of my favorite cars my family has owned through the years was their early 1980s Toyota Cressida wagon. I think it was an ‘82, but I’m not sure now. Anyway, that car was neat as hell, and not just because it was a rear-wheel drive Toyota wagon with a straight-six engine. (Note to the youths: Toyota used to make interesting cars.)

Anyway, that car was also notable for its automatic shoulder belts. Like the ones on that Honda Civic pictured above, the seat belt would move into place on a track along the door frame. On principle it seems like a great way to get people to wear seat belt,s but the system made entry and exit awkward, had the potential to break down, and were ultimately made less necessary by air bags.


Today, they’re a quirky relic of the 1980s, like Datsuns that would talk to you.

What other safety features never really worked out?

Photo credit Wikipedia

Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.

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Adaptive headlights... my wife’s ‘09 RX350 has them and they’re neat the way they rotate slightly when you go around a turn or go up and down as you crest a hill, I expected by now they would be more prolific but they don’t seem to have really caught on.