Obstacle Detection Safety Feature: My Car Does What

Obstacle Detection

Can sense slow-moving or stationary objects when driving at low speeds. Some may even brake for you to avoid obstacles.

This feature activates at slow speeds and will provide warnings of impending collisions. For some versions, it will brake the car automatically.

What It Does

What It Does: Uses sensors mounted in the front and or rear bumpers to determine the distance between the car and nearby objects.

What It Does Not Do: It is not as susceptible to low-visibility conditions like fog, snow and rain because it uses radar and sonar technology versus a camera.

Quick Guide

1. Pay attention

Pay attention to beeps and lights when backing and parking.

2. Be Ready to React

Be prepared to react if an obstacle is detected behind you, or in front of your bumper for some systems.

3. Know the Limits

Don’t only rely on this technology. Use your mirrors and eyes.

How it works


The parking obstacle detection system warns a driver about nearby obstacles that are usually low to the ground (e.g., hydrant, bicycle, guard rail). It’s primarily for backing-up or for slow maneuvering when parking.


An obstacle detection system uses ultrasonic sensors mounted on the front and/or rear bumpers. These sensors can measure the distance between your car and nearby obstacles directly around the front or rear bumper. The driver is alerted by beeps or the dashboard display. The beeps become faster as the vehicle moves closer to the obstacle. A collision is imminent when the beeps become a continuous tone.


This feature varies among car models. Know how your car’s system works before driving, especially if it’s a rental car. Also, make sure the sensors are clean and not covered by debris or stickers.


  • The obstacle detection feature is not a substitute for using your mirrors and your eyes.
  • Get to know how your particular system works.
  • It’s a good idea to always walk around your car before driving.

Question & Answers

When should I use my obstacle detection system?

This feature is designed to warn you during parking that you may be close to another object like another car or garage wall. Your owner’s manual can offer more details.

Will this feature detect people or children?

It may be able to detect in some conditions, but this feature was NOT designed to detect people.

Can I turn this feature off?

Yes. There is usually the capability to disable the obstacle detection system. Check your manual for details.



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