Safe use of driver-assist features

Driver-assist features improve road safety if used properly, but have limitations if used incorrectly.

Know your vehicle’s safety features

Take the time to learn and test the various driver-assist features on your vehicle. Familiarize yourself with the alerts and semi-automated features. Check your vehicle manual for full details.


  • Notice where the sensors are located on the outside of the vehicle and know how to identify if they are turned on. Know if and when the vehicle can automatically activate or temporarily deactivate each function.
  • Know the meaning of the different sounds and visual alerts and how to respond.
  • Be aware that similar features may function differently in various makes of vehicle. For example, a lane-keeping system may automatically intervene to correct the steering if a lane is departed, or it may simply issue a warning to the driver to correct the situation.
  • Adjust the audio settings to suit your preference, as long as the alerts remain on and are loud enough to hear.
  • Check for safety recalls and updates by visiting Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Recall Database.

Understand the limits of your vehicle’s safety features

Understand feature limitations and be aware of situations when features may not work as intended.


  • Know when some assist features are unlikely to function. The ability of some sensors to detect a potential collision may be limited to slower travelling speeds (city speeds), when lane markers are visible (paint not worn away, free from snow), and during good visibility conditions (not during heavy rain, snow or fog). Some features can’t do their job when headlights are covered by dirt and snow. Others, including many backup cameras, can only sense objects from a single direction and may not detect objects or movement from the side. Adaptive cruise control may only track a moving vehicle in front of you – not one which has come to complete stop.
  • Walk around the vehicle before driving to check for possible damage to sensory cameras. Clear obstructions such as dirt or snow as needed.

Always drive alert

Drivers are responsible for what happens behind the wheel regardless of the safety features in use. Using driver-assist features as a safety net while driving tired, impaired, or distracted is careless and dangerous. Take extra care when conditions are not ideal.


  • Guard against over-reliance on driver-assist features. It is up to you to maintain control of your vehicle. Stay focused and alert while driving. Audio and visual warnings are only effective if you are attentive and ready to respond quickly.
  • Always shoulder check and use your mirrors. Always signal turns and lane changes, and keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Always follow all rules of the road.
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