There are plane and train departures…
And there are lane departures.
The difference is, that without the support of Ground Control, Air Traffic Control, or a Metropolitan Transportation Authority, motorists must rely on Lane Departure Warning and Lane Assist technologies to do their jobs on our roadways.
Yet, when it comes to relying on those systems, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “Therein lies the rub.”
“Active driving assistance systems may lull drivers into a false sense of security, allowing them to direct their attention away from driving,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “When using these systems, it’s critical that drivers remain focused on the road, in case you need to intervene. Although these systems are designed to make the roads safer, they’re still in the early stages of development and are not consistent.”
AAA road test personnel reported that nearly 73% of all system errors involved simply moving from one lane into another. Lane Departure Warning and Lane Assist systems heavily rely on cameras to monitor roads – and camera lenses can be fooled by blurred lane markings, while bright sunlight can have a blinding effect, rendering system breakdowns that could lead to deadly consequences.
According to AAA, motorists utilizing these technologies are frequently challenged to keep their vehicles in their lanes without veering too close to other vehicles or guardrails.
System failures can cause drivers to suddenly have to manually take over in complex driving scenarios such as quick lane changes and when approaching disabled vehicles. “When encountering this test scenario, in aggregate, a collision occurred 66% of the time and the average impact speed was 25 mph,” stated a AAA study.
A vehicle can quickly turn into a lethal weapon. While countless lives have doubtlessly been saved due to Lane Departure Warning and Lane Assist technologies, the responsibility lies with drivers to use them wisely and responsibly.
After all, drivers shouldn’t become passengers to their vehicle safety systems.