What you need to know about driver assistance technologies

Vehicles that do not need a human driver are not yet commercially available in Canada. In recent years however, there have been many advances in vehicle technologies. Some of these technologies are designed to warn you if you are at risk of a collision, while others are designed to take action to help avoid or reduce the severity of a crash. These technologies are paving the way for vehicles with higher levels of automation. Learn more here about how these systems work and how to use them safely.

On this page

Current driver assistance technologies

Many vehicles have features to help you avoid a collision, or lessen its impact. These features are called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) or driver assistance technologies. Many driver assistance technologies, such as blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assistance, have been available in the market in Canada for several years. They may be standard on your vehicle or you may need to request them as an option. The manufacturer may use different names for the technology. Ensure to check with the manufacturer or the vehicle owner's manual for further information about that particular vehicle features and its capabilities.

There are a variety of driver assistance systems available to consumers today. Some systems:

  • support the driver in controlling the vehicle, like lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control
  • provide warnings to the driver, like lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning
  • activate momentarily in specific situations, like automatic emergency braking

Remember that these features are only designed to help you. They can't replace you. You must stay alert and engaged at all times while driving, even if the driver assistance features are activated.

Tips for the safe use of driver assistance technologies

Know your vehicle. Get familiar with features specific to your vehicle. Be aware of what these features can and can't do before you use them on public roads. Being informed will help prevent collisions and injuries.

Know your system. Manufacturers do not always use standard terms when they tell you about your vehicle's features. This means vehicle features may have the same name, but be different in how they perform. Always know your vehicle's capabilities before you drive.

Know your vehicle feature's limitations. Driver assistance technologies still require you to pay attention to the road and traffic. Some features 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 when you drive with or without assistance technologies.

For more information about a specific vehicle's features, check with:

  • the vehicle owner's manual
  • the electronic owner's manual built into some cars' infotainment systems
  • the dealer or seller, if you purchased 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 include pedestrian or other object detection.

Lane departure warning

Monitors the vehicle's position within the driving lane and alerts the driver as the vehicle is drifting over the lane markings.

Parking collision warning

Detects obstructions near the vehicle during parking maneuvers.

Rear cross traffic warning

Detects vehicles approaching from the side and rear of the vehicle while traveling in reverse and alerts the driver.


Collision intervention

Automatic emergency braking

Detects a potential collision with obstacles ahead, provides forward collision warning, and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of the impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

Automatic emergency steering

Detects a potential collision and automatically controls steering to avoid or lessen the severity of the impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

Reverse automatic braking

Detects a potential collision while traveling in reverse and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of the impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

Driving control assistance

Adaptive cruise control

Assists with acceleration and/or braking to maintain a prescribed distance between it and a vehicle in front. Some systems can come to a stop and continue.

Active driving assistance

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

Lane keeping assistance

Assists with steering to maintain vehicle within driving 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 are capable of parallel and/or perpendicular parking.

Remote parking assistance

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

Trailer assistance

Assists the driver with visual guidance while backing towards a trailer or during backing maneuvers with a trailer attached. Some systems may provide additional images while driving or backing with a trailer. Some systems may provide steering assistance during backing maneuvers.

Other driver assistance systems

Advanced forward lighting systems

Prompts lights to automatically adapt to changing driving conditions by swiveling to illuminate the vehicles travel path, switching from high beam to low beam, or shining light 90 degrees in either direction at an intersection.

Backup camera

Provides view of area behind the vehicle when in reverse. Could include trailer assistance, a system that assists drivers during backing maneuvers with a trailer attached.

Brake assist

Brake assist monitors brake pedal pressure to automatically sense emergency braking. It then boosts brake pressure to levels beyond those of the driver's pedal and more quickly to shorten stopping distances.

Driver monitoring

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

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.

Night vision

Aids driver vision at night by projecting enhanced images on instrument cluster or head-up display.

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.

Surround view camera

Uses cameras located around vehicle to present view of surroundings.

Tire pressure monitors

Monitors the air pressure of all the wheels and alerts the driver when a tire's pressure has dropped below a safe level.

Traction control

Monitors wheel speed and limits wheel spin when accelerating by braking and/or reducing engine power to the drive wheels.

Rear occupant alert system

A rear occupant alert system alerts the driver to check the back seat of the vehicle.


Related links