Tesla’s Lane Departure Avoidance is an incredibly underrated safety feature

Tesla Lane Departure Warning, corrective steering feature. | Image: Tesla

Tesla recently released two new safety features earlier this month. Dubbed as Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance, the active safety systems are designed to help prevent drivers from unintentionally leaving their driving lanes. These new features seem pretty understated on paper, but as some members of the Tesla community are now finding out, Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance could very well be among the best active safety systems Tesla has introduced to date.

Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance are essentially extensions of Lane Departure Warning, a safety feature that has long been enabled on Tesla’s vehicles and other popular cars from veteran carmakers. The new features work by monitoring and sending a series of alerts if a vehicle is about to leave its driving lane. In the event that an unintended lane departure is imminent (such as a car moving to change lanes without its blinkers on), the active safety feature will engage and steer the car back into its original driving lane.

The reception from Tesla owners, as indicated by activity in social media and in online forums, suggest that the two new safety features are being received positively by the community. Owners have given particular praise to the features’ capability to immediately bring a vehicle back into the middle of its lane since it greatly reduces drivers’ chances of meeting an accident. These were demonstrated by several Tesla owners, some of whom provided video accounts of the active safety features in action.

What’s particularly great about Tesla’s Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is that they could be enabled on vehicles even if Autopilot is not in use. Statistics gathered by the electric car maker point to fewer accidents happening on the road when Autopilot is engaged, and part of that is due to the driver-assist system’s capability to stay in a driving lane. These new features all but ensure that Tesla drivers get the same safety benefits even when Autopilot is disabled.

Unintended lane departures account for a notable number of fatalities on the road, according to researchers from the Unfallforschung der Versicherer (German Insurers Accident Research). In a study, the results of which were published in 2015, the German researchers noted that up to 10% of deaths in car accidents involve inadvertent lane departures. The researchers further concluded that while a significant number of these incidents were due to distracted driving, over 30% of crashes involving unintentional lane changes could be attributed to drivers’ health issues.

Lane Departure Warning systems have been hailed as among the most notable active safety features introduced for vehicles, ranking up there with the seatbelt as a system that has the potential to genuinely save lives on the road. Tesla’s recently added features combined classic Lane Departure Warning with a flourish of Autopilot, and the result is an active safety system that would likely prevent a significant number of crashes involving unintended lane changes. What’s even better is that these features were rolled out to the company’s vehicles through an over-the-air update, which is completely free for Tesla owners.

Here’s a Tesla Model 3 owner’s demo of Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance in action.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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