Monday, July 28, 2014

Lane departure systems

Have you driven a car with lane departure control yet? Not the warning system that flashes an alert if the car detects that you're leaving your lane. I'm talking about the full-on driver-interference system that either vibrates the wheel, or worse, nudges or steers the car back into the lane? I had the misfortune of driving a car equipped with this a couple of weeks ago. I can understand why manufacturers want to put it in their vehicles but I can't understand why there isn't an option to turn it off permanently. I don't know if the system in the car I was in was faulty or if this is just how they work, but I had to fight the car to perform an overtake on a mountain road. The setup was simple enough; following someone who had no idea we were there, who was doing a good 15 mph below the limit, I wanted to overtake. No traffic coming, solid/dashed line making it legal to overtake, I hung back a moment, indicated then hit the gas and started to pull out. At this point the lane departure warning system went into meltdown with lights on the dash and a loud audio warning. Within what I suppose was milliseconds, I felt the power steering tighten up until it took control away and forced me back into the lane I was leaving. Not only was this a surprise to me (which, by the way scared the living shit out of me), but it was a surprise to the car behind who suddenly found me back where I was as he too had begun to accelerate to follow my overtake. Could I turn this nanny system off? Nope. In the end I had to literally fight the steering to get an overtake done. Not safe, and highly undesirable, and now added to the list of stuff I don't want in my next car.


Silas Humphreys said...

That sounds like a cause for naming and shaming.

Paul said...

That's ridiculous. You'd think that if the indicator was used that it would disable itself or something. It sounds outright dangerous. What about on a multilane road, how would you change lanes?
Do you know how it worked? Does it have sensors monitoring the centerlines???

Chris said...

It was a Lincoln MKS (don't judge me). It uses cameras in the bumper and rear view mirror to watch the lines on the road. Apparently it can't tell the difference between a dotted line and a solid line. In theory this system is supposed to only work if you move out of lane without indicating, but on the MKS it's apparently hard-wired on all the time. That being said, it doesn't work if you take your hands of the wheel - that cancels the lane-departure system so it won't "auto drive". I did manage to find part of the wheel that wasn't loaded with sensors so I could steer, but the car didn't think I was holding the wheel so the lane departure system was off, meaning I could actually do what I wanted.

Or I suppose I could have tried taping a soda can to the wheel like this guy did :
Soda can steering

HR truck license QLD said...

You ought to be familiar with everything around you while driving and not simply gazing at the line between paths. You must keep our eyes continually moving.