Vehicle Backup Warning System: My Car Does What

Back-up Warning

Alerts you of objects behind your car as you back out of spaces like driveways or parking spots.

What It Does

What It Does: Uses rear sensors to scan for objects behind your car and alerts you if one is detected.

What It Does Not Do: Will NOT always detect moving objects.


Quick Guide

Back-up Warning System Step 1

1. Check

Before backing out of a parking spot, look over both shoulders and check your mirrors.

Back-up Warning System Step 2

2. Be Aware

If you feel or hear a warning, there may be an object in your backing path.

Back-up Warning System Step 3

3. Take Action

Turn and check to be sure it's safe before backing.

How it works


The back-up warning feature scans behind your car when you shift into reverse. It will let you know – through a sound, vibration, or a mix – if there’s an object or car directly behind you.


When the vehicle is in reverse, sensors mounted on the rear bumper detect objects in its path. If an object is in the way, the system may beep or vibrate.


First, make sure you have physically checked behind your car before backing out. Then, shift the car into reverse while holding your brake. Check over your shoulders and look at your side and rearview mirrors for any people, animals and objects. Then, back slowly, and stop if your back-up warning activates.


Always be sure that you’ve physically checked behind the car before backing out of spaces like driveways or parking spots. There are some objects that back-up warning sensors may not detect, especially if they’re located partially under the car.

Question & Answers

What are some common misconceptions about back-up warning features?

Drivers need to understand that back-up warnings should not be relied on completely. Drivers should always turn their heads and check that it’s safe before backing up.

Additionally, drivers should always look behind their car before they enter it. According to several vehicle manuals, most back-up warning features will not detect small objects below the bumper or flat objects on the ground directly behind the car.

Will back-up warning features be required in all new cars at some point?

At this time, not directly. By May 2018, all new vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds – including buses and trucks – will need to be equipped with rear visibility systems. This rule most directly applies to back-up cameras, and don’t specify that cars also should have back-up warning systems. However, manufacturers often pair back-up warning features with back-up cameras, so the rule may end up increasing the amount of back-up warning systems in cars in the future.

How do back-up warning features improve safety?

Unintentional back-overs cause approximately 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA expects rearview visibility systems that meet standards to be 28 to 33 percent more effective at avoiding back-over crashes.



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