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The limits of lane keeping technology on trucks

| Feb 8, 2019 | Truck/Commercial Vehicle Accidents |

Advancements in sensory devices designed to help keep large commercial trucks from getting into auto accidents has been an important boon to California road safety, but no one should consider this technology infallible. Lane detection equipment, for instance, can alert a driver if the truck is drifting out of a lane. However, these lane keeping sensors can still be foiled, a fact that drivers should keep in mind.

Lane sensors generally operate with no problem when a lane is easily discernable on the road. Motorists typically make out lanes by their yellow or white road markings. There may also be road signs that tell drivers where to turn onto a lane and what direction to keep driving so as to not drift out of the lane. Lane keeping technology looks for these landmarks and alerts the driver when the driver is shifting from a lane.

However, Trucks.com explains that such technology can be limited or foiled. If lane keeping sensors cannot tell where lanes are, they will not alert the driver about falling out of a lane. Wintery weather may produce snow that blocks lane road markers or covers road signs. It is also possible for geographical or man-made obstructions to obstruct lane sensors or cameras from detecting a lane.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted tests of lane keeping technology in vehicles in geographical areas with hills and curvy landscapes nearby. The goal was to find out if the lane keeping systems would maintain the vehicles within the lanes even if curves and hills would block road markings. It had been discovered in previous tests that the presence of a hilly landscape could foil a lane keeping sensor and mislead a vehicle. The IIHS tests showed mixed results, with some detectors better able to maintain a vehicle on a lane than other sensory models.

Basically, lane keeping sensors are a helpful assistant to truck drivers but are not a full-time crutch while driving. This technology continues to be worked on and tested for better efficiency, but at the moment, truck drivers should be informed about all known and possible limits to the sensory equipment featured on their trucks and be prepared to make manual steering decisions when their equipment fails.