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Here's why the new Honda Civic's LaneWatch is better than blind spot monitor

Thailand market model shown

Due to be launched later this year, the new Honda Civic will soon become the latest model to incorporate Honda’s signature Sensing advanced driving aids feature.

Like the Honda CR-V and Odyssey, the soon to be launched Civic’s list of Honda Sensing features include:

  • Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow
  • Auto High Beam  

On top of that, the new Honda Civic will also feature LaneWatch, a camera-based blind spot detection feature.

How does it work? Every time you turn on the left-side turn signal, a live video feed of the car’s left-side traffic will be shown on the infotainment screen, providing the driver with a very clear, blind spot-free view of traffic. 

LaneWatch works by using a small camera placed on the lower side of the left wing mirror.

Depending on who you ask, they may or may not agree to classify LaneWatch as a blind spot detecting feature, simply because it only works on the passenger’s side, and it only works when the turn signals are used.

In contrast, a conventional rear bumper-mounted, radar-based blind spot monitor will continue to work irrespective of whether the driver is using the turn signals or not.

Conventional blind spot monitor

Why doesn’t LaneWatch work on the driver’s right-side? Well that’s simply because it’s quite counterintuitive to have the driver to look to the infotainment screen, which is on the driver’s left, before turning right. 

The criticisms against LaneWatch is valid but having tried the feature in both the Accord and the CR-V, I would much rather have LaneWatch than blind spot monitor. Why? Because the camera-based system works a lot better in our local driving conditions.

Our traffic is characterized by many lane splitting motorcycles as well as torrential rain. I have experienced far too many blind spot monitors that give too many false alerts, getting triggered by cars two lanes away. Over time, the driver is conditioned to ignore it, which defeats the purpose of the feature.

Heavy rain at night also reduces the effectiveness of blind spot monitors because with the mirrors and side windows covered in rain droplets, so you still can’t see much.

LaneWatch’s camera on the other hand, gives a very clear view of the traffic even in bad weather. Image is crisp and sharp even if it’s at night and raining.

I also like the fact that I can confidently assess the traffic situation based on the video feed.

Left-hand drive USA market model shown, but function is similar

The fact that LaneWatch doesn’t work on the right-side doesn’t bother me at all, because blind spots are hardly an issue on the driver’s side.

If it is, then it just means that your side and rear view mirrors are not adjusted properly. Blind spots are mostly on the left-side, where rear outward visibility might be obscured by car’s B- and C-pillars.

As for it not working if the turn signals are not activated, I find it hard to understand the criticism because you are not supposed to switch lanes without signaling anyway.

The new Honda Civic was supposed to have been launched by now but there have been delays in price approval at the government's side. Most Honda dealers have since sold out their stock for the Civic and the prolonged delay is most unfortunate.