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What Is Lane Keeping Assist?

Safety has always been a priority for car manufacturers. Advanced technology has enabled the introduction of a multitude of innovative and effective safety features and tools, one of which is the lane keeping assist function. 

While this function better ensures safe lane changing, it is more advanced and useful for drivers compared to a related function called lane departure warning. What does lane keeping assist do and how is it better than lane departure warning? 

Find out how lane keeping assist work to keep drivers on the right track and whether you would need this function for your car. 

Bonus: Find out which cars have the best lane keeping assist and lane departure warning systems, as rated by 72,000 car owners of 2015-2019 models in a report by the prestigious Consumer Report.

Lane departure warning vs Lane keeping assist

You might have come across the car term “lane departure warning” more often than “lane keeping assist”. That is because lane departure warning function was invented earlier than lane keeping assist and thus at the moment is more common and standard. 

Lane departure warning systems merely alert the driver when the car is leaving its lane, using sound alert and/or visual signals on the car’s mirrors. This function aims to keep fatigued or absent-minded drivers in their lane.

lane departure warning signal
Lane departure warning signal.

For more of the most recent technology in the automotive industry, refer to the list of the car terms you must know with detailed explanation of how they work. 

This list includes the most important car jargon related to safety, handling and energy efficiency features. It will help you pick the right car as well as the right add-on features for safer and more enjoyable driving.

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Lane keeping assist: What does it do? 

Lane keeping assist goes a step further than lane departure warning by alerting the driver, using visual and/or audio cues, when the car is crossing over into another lane without signaling.

The most recent and more advanced lane keeping assist even provides more safety insurance by self-corrects the car’s steering: it nudges the car back toward the centre of the current lane.

how lane keeping assist works
Lane keeping assist not only alert drivers but also auto-correct steering.

Lane departure warning + Lane keeping assist: How they work together

In many cars, you will come across both lane departure warning and lane keeping assist working together. For instance, if you drift out of your lane or is about to drive off the road, your lane departure warning will activate to alert you. 

You might hear an audio warning, see a flashing light on your rearview mirror, a warning on your dashboard, or feel your steering wheel vibrate. Then, if you don’t correct your steering in time, lane keeping assist will gently steer the car back to the center of the lane.

Lane keeping assist: Notes

It is important to note that lane keeping assist will only work if the pavement marking on the road is clear, since this is what it relies on to operate. 

lane keeping assist pavement marking
Lane keeping assist relies on pavement markings.

The current lane keeping assist function is not designed to work with pavement markings that are faded, covered, in disrepair, or are overly complicated.

Cars with the best Lane keeping assist and Lane departure warning

A recent report by Consumer Report asked 72,000 car owners to rate their experiences with the advanced safety and driver-assist systems on their 2015-2019 model cars. A summary of the results is as follows:

Lane departure warning 

Most satisfying systems: Hyundai, Jeep, Cadillac, and Buick.

Least satisfying systems: Honda, Infiniti, and Porsche.

Lane keeping assist

Most satisfying systems: Tesla, Kia, Genesis, and Cadillac.

Owners of these cars praise the reliability of their lane keeping assist systems: they make long driving less demanding and make drivers more conscious of using turn signal.

kia niro lane keeping assist
Kia Niro is voted for its reliable lane keeping assist system.

Least satisfying systems: Honda, Acura, Audi, and Lincoln.

Owners of these cars complain that they are unreliable, only work intermittently even when the lane markings are perfect, or detect lane departures when there are none and at times get confused by some markings.

Although there are many advanced safety and driver-assist features in today’s cars, you should never leave everything to technology. Drive carefully and look after your car properly with these handy maintenance tips will better ensure safe and smooth driving.