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What is Lane Keeping Assist? Do you Need It?

Author of the article

By Saoirse McClure Fisher

calendar 27-09-2021 tag MAINTENANCE clock 10 min read

We've all been there, pottering down the motorway when we feel that telltale buzz of the rumble strips on the hard shoulder. Yep, it wakes you up alright. It is easy to lose attention. Lane keeping assist helps to prevent you from departing from your lane accidentally. How? Well, it is a little like a car 'autopilot', turning the steering wheel to get you back on the right track. Today, we will look at lane keeping assist, explain how it works, and talk about different lane-keeping technologies.


How Does Lane Keeping Assist Work?

No, it isn't voodoo or magic.

Lane keeping assist actually uses some clever technology to keep you on the straight and narrow.

How would you feel if we told you that there were cameras in your car?

Well, guess what?

Behind your mirror or mounted somewhere else forward-facing is a basic camera or sensor. This camera 'sees' the lines on the road. It marks where they are in relation to your vehicle. If you drift out of tolerances, it will send an electronic signal to the steering wheel to turn (gently), returning you to your lane.

As a general rule, this is more of a 'nudge' than a push. Still, some systems feature an 'emergency' mode that can be slightly more forceful if you diverge too much.

How does it know that it isn't me trying to move lanes?

Easy. When you make an input to the steering wheel, this is fed back to the computer and camera in the car, so it knows that you are making a conscious decision to switch lanes. 

Is Lane Keep Assist Worth it?

Most definitely. Provided your budget is sufficient (or if it comes included), it is a feature well worth having. It doesn't mean you can stop paying attention, but it offers a degree of forgiveness if you find that your attention has wandered.

If you do a lot of motorway miles, then lane assist is really worth it. It can actually be pretty tiring navigating along huge stretches of motorway. As we said at the start, we've all felt that telltale bump or rumble when we depart our lane and run over the cat's eyes or hard shoulder rumble strip.

Lane keeping assist aids in safety and therefore can only be seen as a good thing.

Are There Any Flaws to Lane Assist?

Yeah, there are a few things you need to be aware of: -

  • Lane assist doesn't work on unpainted roads: If you do many miles on country lanes, then lane assist isn't going to help you.
  • Lane assist can get confused: Have you ever driven through temporary roadworks and two sets of lines on the road? If it is confusing for you, think how that must frazzle that little camera's brain? Often it can make a correction even though you are correctly maintaining the road ahead.
  • Lane Assist can be overridden: Lane assist provides a 'small' correction. What it won't do is dig you out of trouble if you intentionally pull into a lane by accident.

What's the Difference Between Lane Departure and Lane Assist?

Now, don't get confused.

Lane departure and lane keep assist are two different things. 

Lane keep assist does exactly what it says on the tin. It will actively steer to keep you in your lane. 

And lane departure?

All this system does is notify you when you are departing your lane. It can do this in several different ways: -

Why is it important to know the difference between lane keep assist and lane departure?

Lane departure isn't going to save you if you inadvertently begin to leave your lane, so you can't rely on it. Lane keep assist will get you pointing back in the right direction.

Can You Turn Off Lane Assist?

It is possible to turn off lane assist, but, in all honesty, there are very few reasons why you would want to? After all, it is a great safety feature that keeps you feeling less tired on the road and helps if you do lose attention.

This is normally easily achieved with a button on your indicator stalk or a button on the centre console or pedestal with certain models of vehicles.

When might you want to turn off lane assist? There are a few occasions where it could help: -

  • Driving through temporary road works
  • Driving on roads where the lines are in poor condition
  • When you anticipate changing lanes, often
  • If you suspect you have a puncture or the car's tracking seems to be off.


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