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.