Mercedes-Benz is incorporating a host of safety features in its new Sprinter. Always keen to ensure it makes vehicle safety a core quality of its van range, Mercedes is to fit some of the latest developments from passenger car and truck part boxes to ensure the Sprinter retains its focus and position as one of the safest vans on the road.

The most notable of the safety devices is crosswind assist, which deploys adaptive ESP to correct the vehicle in the event of a sudden gust of wind. ESP is standard fit on Sprinter and already features sensors for measuring the yaw rate and lateral acceleration, further developments in the processing power of the on-board computer means these sensors can determine the force exerted by crosswinds and formulate a rapid response. The ESP sensors can determine the strength and flow angle of steady and intensifying crosswinds as well as of sudden gusts, with the system’s response governed by factors such as vehicle speed, load weight, cargo location, and the driver’s steering behaviour.

Testing the vehicle with the feature engaged allows the ESP to briefly brake the wheels on the windward side of the van, thus dragging the vehicle back on to a straight course. An amber dash light comes on to let the driver know the system has deployed. When activated, the vehicle does deviate slightly from the straight ahead position, but not as severe as when the system is disconnected.

A further safety item is collision warning assistance – a well-proven feature on Mercedes trucks and cars – using on-board radar proximity technology to monitor the traffic ahead and alert the driver where there is an impending danger of rear-end collision.

The system alerts the driver with flashing lights when the distance to the vehicle in front drops below one fourth of the required braking distance, and, as the likelihood of a collision increases, sounds an alarm. Unlike the truck version, no emergency braking will be triggered in the van if there is no reaction from the driver.

Other safety elements also set to join the list of options on the next generation Sprinter are: blind spot assist, which gives a warning light in the mirror combined with an alarm if you are in danger of hitting a vehicle in your blindspot; lane keeping assist, which alerts you if you wander from your lane; and high beam assist, which automatically switches between high and dip beam headlights.

Mercedes will offer some of these safety features as standard in the new Sprinter van, due to be launched later this year.