2014 Toyota Highlander: Lane Departure Alert
January 19, 2015
My son was back home from college for winter break, and I thought it would be fun to take him and his girlfriend to a concert in Las Vegas. I selected our 2014 Toyota Highlander from our long-term fleet for the trip.
Home to Vegas is about 300 miles, and I figured I could get some good conversation with the kid and his girlfriend on the way over. I'd share with them sage words of wisdom, and in exchange, they could keep me in the loop with what the cool kids were doing these days.
I should have known better.
By the time we hit Barstow, the kids were busy playing iPhone games, and had already tired of my "when I was your age" stories.
By the time we passed Zzyxx Road, the kids were snoring, tuckered out as if they had spent the day at Disneyland instead of being stuck in Friday traffic on the I-15.
I didn't feel alone on the trip though, even though the kids were asleep. The Highlander kept me company with alerts, beeps, and visuals thanks to Lane Departure Alert (LDA). When engaged, Lane Departure Alert is designed to, you guessed it, alert the driver should he depart (drift) from his lane.
Lane departure warning systems (different brands call them different things) are one of my favorite new safety features. Two reasons why:
When I think of lane departure warning systems in some of today's vehicles, I really think of them as "Texter Alerts." In my mind's eye, I see a distracted driver looking down at his phone texting, and only being alerted of the drift because of the vehicle's beeping.
We've all seen it, a driver for no apparent reason, drifting listlessly into another lane, only to quickly correct themselves and pull back into their original lane. I know there are plenty of reasons for this, but my internal wiring makes me assume the drivers of these cars are texting.
I don't text and drive, so when the LDA beeped at me on the way to Vegas, it was because I had switched lanes without flicking on my blinker. Yikes. Aside from it being an unsafe habit, it is certainly not the thing to do when trying to be a good example of responsible driving. The LDA was a quick reminder to stay on my toes.
Because of both of these reasons, I'm now a huge fan of this feature. Yep, lane departure warning is probably my favorite of the new generation of safety features.
Keeping drivers engaged in the process of driving, especially considering the young drivers hitting the road soon, like the lovebird teenagers snoring behind me in the Highlander.
What newer safety features are most appealing to you? Lane departure warning? Adaptive Cruise Control? Blind Spot Monitoring? Adaptive Headlights? Something else?
Matt Jones, Senior Editor @ 13,972 miles