Driving a car could be about to get a whole lot safer after Toyota unveiled a new system that uses onboard computers and radar to predict when a crash is imminent.

The Pre-crash Safety System takes readings from millimetre-wave radar mounted on the car body to determine if other vehicles are on a collision course.

Slow it down

It then prepares for impact by tightening seatbelts, adjusting seat positions and forcing the car to decelerate as quickly as is safe.

As well as the ability to detect vehicles coming from the front or rear, the new Toyota system can spot cars to the side and even those suddenly jumping from the wrong side of the road into a dangerous position.

The technology is already complete and Toyota says it will be offering it as an option on Lexus and Crown Majesta models from next month.