What you need to know about driver assistance technologies

Self-driving vehicles aren’t commercially available in Canada, but driver assistance technologies are becoming more common. Some of these technologies warn you if you’re at risk of a collision, while others can help avoid or reduce the severity of a crash. These technologies are paving the way for vehicles with more automation.

This page explains how these systems work and how to use them safely.

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Current driver assistance technologies

Many vehicles have technologies to help you avoid collisions, or reduce their impact. These technologies are called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or driver assistance technologies. Many driver assistance technologies, such as blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assistance, have been available in Canada for several years. They may be standard on your vehicle or you may need to ask for them. Your vehicle’s manufacturer may use different names for the technology. Check with the manufacturer or your owner’s manual for more information about your vehicle’s technologies and abilities. There are a variety of driver assistance systems available today. Some systems:

  • help you control a vehicle, like lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control
  • warn you of hazards, like lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning
  • only activate in specific situations, like automatic emergency braking

Remember that these systems are designed to help you. They can't replace you. Stay alert and engaged while driving, even if the driver assistance technologies are activated.

How to safely use driver assistance technologies

Know your vehicle. Get familiar with your vehicle’s technologies. Know what they can and can't do before you use them on public roads. Being informed will help prevent collisions and injuries.

Know your system. Manufacturers don’t always use standard terms when they tell you about your vehicle's systems. Some systems may turn on automatically while others may need to be turned on/off. Always know your vehicle's abilities before you drive.

Know your vehicle feature's limitations. Driver assistance technologies still need you to pay attention to the road and traffic. Some systems may only work in specific conditions. For example, within a certain speed, when lanes are visible, traffic lights are working properly, and when road markings are clear. You need to stay alert at all times whenever you drive.

For more information about your vehicle's features, check:

  • the vehicle owner's manual
  • the electronic owner's manual built into some cars' infotainment systems
  • the dealer or seller, if you bought the vehicle
  • the rental company, if you rented it
  • the manufacturer

Know your vehicle’s safety technologies


Many vehicles sold today come with driver assistance technologies… Like...

Blind spot monitoring, which alerts you if there’s a vehicle in your blind spot.

Automated emergency braking, which applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of potential collisions ahead.

Or adaptive cruise control, which maintains your speed and following distance.

But not all systems work the same way, or use the same names.

Learn more about what your vehicle can and can’t do by:

Reading your owner’s manual, visiting a manufacturer’s website, or visiting Canada.ca/driver-assistance.

The more you know about these safety technologies, the safer you’ll be.

You are your vehicle’s best safety system


Today’s vehicles feature many new driver assistance technologies, which could help prevent collisions, and save lives.

Some systems provide warnings to the driver. Like blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.

Others activate momentarily in emergency situations, like automatic emergency braking.

But they don’t always work in bad weather or poor visibility.

These systems are only designed to help you. They can’t replace you. 

Stay alert. Avoid distractions.

And remember, YOU are your vehicle’s best safety system. 


Types of driver assistance technologies

Collision warnings

Blind spot warning

Warns drivers of a vehicle in their blind spot.

Forward collision warning

Detects and warns the driver of a potential collision with a vehicle ahead. Some systems can also detect pedestrians or other objects.

Lane departure warning

Monitors the vehicle’s position within the driving lane and alerts the driver as the vehicle drifts over the lane markings.

Parking collision warning

Detects obstructions near the vehicle when parking.

Rear cross traffic warning

Detects and alerts the driver about vehicles approaching from the side and rear when backing-up.


Collision intervention

Lane keeping assistance

Assists with steering to maintain vehicle within driving lane.

Blind Spot Intervention

Applies brakes or steers if the vehicle begins changing to a lane with a vehicle in its blind spot.

Automatic emergency steering

Detects a potential collision and automatically steers to avoid or reduce the severity of an impact. Some systems can also detect pedestrians or other objects.

Automatic emergency braking

Detects a potential collision with obstacles ahead, provides forward collision warning, and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of the impact.

Reverse automatic braking

Detects a potential collision while backing-up and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of the impact. Some systems can also detect pedestrians or other objects.


Driving control assistance

Adaptive cruise control

Helps speed-up and/or brake to maintain a preset distance between it and a vehicle in front. Some systems can also come to a stop and continue.

Active driving assistance

Helps speed-up, brake, and steer. Some systems are limited to specific driving conditions.

Lane centering assistance

Helps the driver to keep their vehicle at or near the center of a lane.

Parking assistance

Active parking assistance

Controls steering and potentially other functions like braking and accelerating during parking. Driver may be responsible for acceleration, braking, and gear position. Some systems can parallel and/or perpendicular park.

Remote parking assistance

Parks vehicle without the driver being physically present inside the vehicle. Automatically controls acceleration, braking, steering, and shifting.

Trailer assistance

Helps the driver visually while while backing towards a trailer or during backing maneuvers with a trailer attached. Some systems can also provide other images while driving or backing with a trailer. Some systems may provide steering assistance during backing maneuvers.

Backup camera

Provides view of area behind the vehicle when backing-up. Can include trailer assistance, a system that helps drivers during backing maneuvers with a trailer attached.


Other driver assistance systems

Crosswind stabilization

This feature supports the vehicle when driving in strong crosswinds. The sensors in this system can detect strong pressure acting on the vehicle and help the driver stay in the lane.

Automatic crash notification

An automatic crash notification system notifies emergency responders that a crash has occurred and provides the vehicle’s location.

Automatic high beam

Automatic high beam switches from high to low beam headlamps depending on lighting and vehicles on the road.

Adaptive driving beam

A high-beam headlamp system that adapts to the presence of vehicles and/or objects ahead of the vehicle.

Driver monitoring

Monitors drivers to determine if they are actively engaged in driving. Some systems monitor the driver’s eye movement and head position.

Brake assist

Assists with vehicle acceleration, braking, and steering. Some systems are limited to specific driving conditions.

Night vision

Helps a driver’s vision at night by projecting enhanced images on instrument cluster or head-up display.

Electronic stability control

Automatically brakes one or more wheels for short periods of time and/or reduces engine power to keep the vehicle moving in the intended direction when it swerves to avoid an obstacle.

Head-up display

Projects an image of vehicle data and/or navigational information into the driver’s forward line of sight.

Surround view camera

Uses cameras located around vehicle to display a view of its surroundings.

Roll stability control

Limits vehicle roll by braking one or more wheels and reducing engine power in extreme cornering or evasive maneuvers.

Speed alert

Reminds drivers of the current speed and/or alerts drivers when they drive above the speed limit.

Rear occupant alert system

Alerts the driver to check the back seat of the vehicle in case any people or objects have been forgotten in the car.

Tire pressure monitors

Monitors the air pressure of all the wheels and alerts the driver when a tire’s pressure drops below a safe level.


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