What does the lane departure warning system on my new car do?

A recent survey conducted by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety program found that many people purchase and drive new cars without fully understanding the safety features and warning systems the cars have. In fact, 40 percent of those surveyed reported their vehicle acting in a way they were not expecting and did not know how to respond. This disconnect between the car’s features and the driver’s understanding of them could lead to crashes, despite the technology’s attempts to protect the driver. Among the least-understood technologies is the lane departure warning system.

The Lane Departure Warning System

About half of all new cars offer a lane departure warning system, but, according to the survey, 35.6 percent of owners of cars with the technology are uncertain about how to use it.

What It Is

This feature alerts the driver if the car has begun to drift to one side of the lane or the other. The idea behind it is that an unaware driver is about to cross into the next lane or run off the road. The signal warns the driver to return the car to the center of the lane.

How It Works

The technology relies on road markings to determine when the car is coming too close to the edge of the lane. When a lane marker is detected, a signal goes off to alert the driver.

Tips for Using Your Lane Departure Warning System

To make the most of this safety feature, follow these tips:

  • Always be alert to your surroundings.
  • If you get a warning that you are drifting, steer gently back to the center of your lane. Do not make sudden or jerky movements.
  • This feature is not designed to work on unpaved roads or roads with no lane markers.
  • Roads that are covered with snow, leaves, or debris will prevent the sensors from identifying lane markers, so the system will not function properly.
  • Using your turn signal will disable the warning system so it will not go off when you are changing lanes if you use your turn signal.

Potential Problems

This technology has received mixed reviews from automotive journalists and drivers. Since the system won’t work unless there are clear lane markings, drivers find that potholes, wet pavement, construction zones, and intersections—some of the biggest driving hazards—confuse or disable the system when they need it most. Also, it is just one of many alerts and warnings in today’s cars and can cause the driver confusion.

When to Get Help

To learn more about additional car safety features, visit the My Car Does What? website. Whether you have used your car’s safety features correctly or not, if you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Steve Lee at 800-232-3711 to get help.

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