Forward Collision Warning: My Car Does What

Forward Collision Warning

Forward collision warning can alert you of an impending collision with a slower moving or stationary car in front of you.

What It Does

What It Does: Designed to alert you to a hazard ahead so that you can brake or swerve in time.

What It Does Not Do: Forward collision warning alone will not automatically brake for you.


Quick Guide

Forward Collision Warning Step 1

1. Scan

Scan the road ahead and maintain a safe following distance.

2. Be Alert

Warning tones or visual alerts will warn you that a collision is about to occur.

3. Prepare to Brake

Brake or steer to safety to avoid a crash.

How it works


Forward collision warning scans the road ahead while you drive. It’s designed to warn you if you’re about to crash into a slower moving or stopped car. Some features can detect other objects, but check your owner’s manual to make sure you understand its capabilities.


Sensors located in the front of your car are able to detect how close you are to cars in front of you. These typically are camera- or radar-based. Warnings can come in the form of sounds, visuals, vibrations or a quick brake pulse; or, a mix of warnings.


Always be a cautious driver and keep a safe following distance from the traffic ahead of you. However, sudden braking might be needed at any time. Forward collision warning is designed to alert you to a hazard ahead so that you can take action in time. If you are warned by the system, prepare to brake or steer quickly.


  • Your forward collision warning feature’s sensors can be blocked by ice or snow, so be sure to clear any build-up off your feature’s sensors before you begin driving.
  • If you aren’t sure where your forward collision warning’s sensors are located, you can always check your owner’s manual or with your dealership.
  • Some forward collision warning features are vulnerable to glare at sunrise and sunset, so don’t rely on this feature exclusively. Always pay attention to the road ahead. Rear-end crashes are the most common crash type in the United States.

Question & Answers

What else is this feature called?

Different manufacturers call this system different names. You may see it referred to as:

  • Pre-crash system
  • Forward crash warning
  • Collision mitigating system
  • Collision avoidance system
  • Forward collision avoidance system
  • Rear-end crash avoidance system
  • Automotive collision avoidance system

Does this feature brake my car for me?

Newer forward collision warning features with automatic braking may also brake your car in an emergency. While this capability is becoming more and more common in many new cars today, not all earlier versions of forward collision warning can slow or stop your car automatically. Check your owner’s manual or with your dealership for more information.

Will this feature detect any size of vehicle?

Forward collision warning best detects vehicles in front of you. However, not all features will be capable of detecting motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, some farm machinery and other vehicles smaller than a car.

Does forward collision warning work in bad weather?

Some versions of this feature use different types of sensors to detect other vehicles in front of you. Some of these sensors may not work well in some conditions, such as driving through fog or driving inside of a tunnel. Rain and snow can also affect such systems.



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