Toyota Coffee Cup Symbol – What Is It All About?

Just like other illuminations on the dash, the Toyota coffee cup symbol also has its meaning. Some people find it a useful feature, while others think it’s a kind of distraction.

But what does the coffee cup mean on my car? Many newbies deem it as a friendly reminder for a cup of morning coffee.

But the meaning behind it is more thoughtful than that.

So, if your mind comes up with the question,, and how does it help you to decrease the chances of fatigue-related crashes? You can find the answer in my article below.

Let’s scroll down for more details!

What Is The Toyota Coffee Cup Symbol?

toyota coffee cup symbol

The coffee cup icon on the dashboard is a warning system activated when it detects that you’re falling asleep while driving.

It will analyze unusual driving styles, such as moving away from the center of your lane. In this case, you should follow the instructions to take a rest.

What Does It Do?

While other illuminations, such as the transmission warning light symbol, try to tell you issues with the car engine system, the first and foremost purpose of the coffee cup symbol in cars is to alert you that you’re drowsy and should not continue driving to avoid accidents.

Depending on the models of the cars, the system will track different factors such as head and eye movements, unusual steering-related maneuvers, or vehicles moving away from the main lane.

It will conclude that you’re sleepy and try to warn you with a pop-up message, vibration, or even an audio alert.

Sometimes, when you drive non-stopping for three hours, the system may try to get your attention by displaying the message: would you like to take a break Toyota

How Does It Work?

If your system is designed to observe your driving style, it will use the sensors of the lane departure warning systems to understand your vehicle’s position on the road.

The alert will also come out when it tracks that you often depart from your lane.

Some modern versions can remember your normal driving style and notice if you have unusual maneuvers, such as a sudden turn or stop, the coffee cup warning light Hyundai will blink, indicating break time requirement. 

Another technology uses sensors to detect the driver’s head position and eye movements. The eye-tracker will wake you up when it senses that you are closing your eyes or dropping your head.

There are two types of this technology: infrared cameras used to capture eye movements and sensors to determine the brain’s electrical activity changes.

Except when you’re wearing glasses, the former is usually more accurate. The latter’s accuracy is lower, but it’s easy to install on the existing vehicle’s computer without special hardware.

How To Turn On And Off The Coffee Cup Icon In Car?

what does the coffee cup mean on my car

Similar to the brake light, the system is designed for your safety. However, you may find it bothers your driving sometimes.

Especially in some recent brand models, the icon will turn on when it senses that the coffee cup is in the cupholder.

This situation is quite a distraction for some drivers, and they may want the Toyota coffee cup warning to turn off.

If you also think the system is overly cautious, you can follow the steps below to turn it off.

However, I highly advise you to think twice before doing so, as you’re giving up one way of protection while driving.

  • Press the Menu button on your control panel to access the car’s menu system.
  • Use the arrow keys to find the cup holder option.
  • Select the cup holder. The drop-down menu will appear, and choose Off.
  • Exit the Menu system.

In some models, the coffee cup warning light will reappear after 3 hours of non-stop driving even if you turn the system off.

You can choose to close the pop-up message if you think it’s not necessary to take a rest. You also can stop frequently on the long trip to avoid the flashing icon.

What Should You Do When You See The Symbols? 

The truth is you can choose not to obey the Toyota take a break warning. However, it’s highly recommended not to do so.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so even if you think you’re not tired, you’d better follow the instructions.

Drowsy driving is one of the most common reasons for car accidents. And the coffee cup on the dashboard is a good warning for you.

To avoid unwanted scenarios happening due to sleepiness, read these tips below:

  • The system is only activated when it detects your drowsiness after you start driving, so you should not come to the driving wheel in the first place if you’re sleepy.
  • When you notice the coffee cup light on the dashboard, you’d better choose a safe and secure place to stop for a while. Some automobiles can even use the built-in GPS to tell you areas around where you can rest.
  • When planning a long trip, don’t forget to note some stops for rest on the way. It’s better to stop every two hours of driving to avoid drowsiness. If you go with another licensed driver, consider taking turns if possible. 
  • In most cases, with my driving experience, drinking a cup of coffee or energy drinks may help.

Tips For Using

coffee cup icon in car

Toyota coffee cup warning is designed to alert you about your sleepy status in several ways. You’d better make full use of this function to drive safely.

Watch, listen, and feel are what you need to do to stay safe on the road.

  • The system will display a message on the display screen if it thinks you’re sleepy behind the wheel. So, pay attention to your control panel for this and other blinking symbols.
  • Audio alerts are included in some makes and models. It can verbally notify you about your drowsiness, and you should listen to it and take a break for a short period of time.
  • Another way to know the system is trying to tell about your status is the vibration on your seat. You may feel it vibrate, and it’s time to stop driving for a while.


Can The Feature Read The Eye Movements?

Yes, it can, for certain versions. Some modern versions of drowsiness alerts are designed with a camera near the steering wheel.

It can conclude if the driver is sleeping by detecting the signs of fatigue, such as the head bobs and closing eyelids. This function is expected to be more popular due to its usefulness.

Can The Function Detect When A Driver Is Sleepy Immediately?

An immediate alert is almost impossible since the system will just be activated after you drift from the center of the lane a couple of times.

You can check your owner’s manual to see when and how it starts detecting.

The Bottom Lines

The Toyota coffee cup symbol appears on your dash to alert you about your drowsiness. It works by tracking the times you depart from your lane, your eye movements, and head-dropping times to conclude your sleepy status.

Like any other car’s system, the feature is not 100% perfect. You can turn off the coffee cup light in the car if you think it distracts you. However, you’d better not do so.

I highly recommend you listen to the system and take a break from driving for your safety.

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