Lane Departure Warning Systems – How Do They Work

Posted on: March 14th, 2017 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

lane departure warning systemsWe have all seen the commercials where a sleepy driver starts to drift and swerve into the other lane. And, to add drama to the situation, there is an oncoming car! But, miraculously, the car alerts the driver about the impending lane departure so they can avoid disaster. Sounds like science fiction. However, these lane guidance systems do just that and they are on several makes and models of this year’s vehicle. As your Aurora auto body shop, we have the in’s and out’s of how these lane departure warning systems work.

Three Versions of Lane Departure Systems

  • Lane Departure Warning – This is the most common and entry level version of the technology. This system only warns you that you are about to drift into the other lane. As a result, the driver has to take action and steer the vehicle back into the center of the lane.
  • Lane Keep Assist – This system kicks in when the car drifts too far. Then, the car will steer back into the lane, but it is up to the driver to re-center the car.
  • Lane Centering Assist – This is the latest and most advanced of these lane departure warning systems. This system is more proactive and keeps your vehicle centered as long as you have your hands, at least, lightly on the steering wheel.

How Lane Warning Systems Work

Most systems utilize a camera that is mounted high up in the windshield. The camera captures a view of the road, up to 150 feet ahead of the vehicle. The camera picks up on the painted lane markings on the road. If the camera senses that the car is drifting away from the center of the lane, the car will then warn the driver. Depending on the model and make of the car, the warning can be hepatic feedback from the steering wheel, or a visual cue on the dashboard, combined with an audio chime.

If you do intend to switch lanes, and you have lane assist or centering assist, the driver does override the system. The driver simply must steer slightly harder, but not much. The system then recognizes that you are intending to switch lanes.

Are Lane Departure Systems Reliable?

Keep in mind that lane departure systems are not 100% accurate. As they use the lane markers on the road, it can have difficulty if driving on roads where the painting is faded or been washed away. Unfortunately, here in Colorado, that happens a lot given our road clearing operations in the winter months. Also, in rain and snow, when visibility is limited and lane markings are obscured, the system will not be able to alert the driver.

Also, on sections of the highway where there is an exit, the right lane marker does go away temporarily, forcing the systems to try and pick up the right lane marker further ahead. In early systems, this would sometimes create false notifications, but newer systems are better at accounting for highway exits.

How to Use this Information

All in all, these systems do work pretty well and continue to improve. And, they are worthwhile to look into from a safety perspective, as a lot of fatal accidents are the result of lane departure and swerving off the road. If, however, you do happen to get into an accident and need auto body repair, please let us help. Call us at 303-344-2212 or get ahold of us online.

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