Lane centering, sometimes called auto steer, is an advanced car assistance technology that keeps a car centered in the lane, making driving overall easier and potentially safer.
Lane centering is a better, more advanced technology compared to LKA (lane keep assist), which only bounces a car in a lane or simply alerts when your vehicle is leavin the lane, versus keeping it aligned in the middle consistently.
When combined with TACC (traffic aware cruise control), drivers can experience very long stretches of not requiring to steer, brake or accelerate.
Is lane tracing different from lane centering?
Lane tracing is another term that certain car manufacturers use for their lane centering system. Lane tracing specifically describes how the onboard systems will attempt to trace the line or direction of the vehicle inside the lane is occupies. Kind of like how you draw a line with a pencil inside lines. Toyota is one car maker that uses this term in their ADAS systems.
What’s it like to use lane centering tech when driving?
Using lane-centering tech while driving long distances is very beneficial. You do not have to make micro-adjustments constantly to keep your vehicle in a safe path. The car’s computer and sensors does this work for you. Not having to steer on straight roads or roads with gentle curves means that the driver can be most rested and less tired when they arrive at their destination.
As far as hand-position, it’s common to rest your forearm on your lap and hold the steering wheel in a slightly resting position. This is comfortable and safe for long durations.
However, it’s not foolproof. If lane-markings are hard to see, missing or there are other issues with the sensors ability to see and interpret the lines on the road, the lane centering system will deactivate and turn over the steering back to the driver. This is one major reason why these systems always warn to be constantly prepared to take over and to keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
How do I know if lane-centering is active?
Car manufacturers have generally converged on using a standard icon for this technology and to indicate when auto-steering is active. A green steering wheel (pictured below) is what you should expect to see in the car’s instrument cluster.
Is lane-centering safe?
Yes, lane centering is considered safe, and potentially can reduce accidents. The largest risk is accidentally assuming that the lane centering technology is active, when it is in fact not. That could leave the driver in risk of a serious accident assuming that the vehicle will steer for you, but fails to do so. Always familiarize yourself with the graphics and sounds that your particular vehicle makes with this system activated, so you know when it’s active and when it’s not.
Vehicles leaving their lane and running off the road, or even worse, into oncoming traffic is one of the largest causes for single or multi vehicle accidents. In this sense, lane centering can be considered safer than a normal driver not using this technology.
Typically lane centering is combined with at least AEB (automatic emergency braking), to prevent you from directly running into another vehicle, pedestrian or large animal, which increases the overall safety of a vehicle.
Is lane centering tech worth the cost?
Yes, we’re huge believers in the technology and highly recommend you test driver a vehicle, especially for a longer duration on a highway.
What cars have lane-centering?
Be sure to check out our ADAS Rankings Database and Guide to see what makes and models have lane centering.