Review of In-Car Gadgets for Safer Driving
News There’s nothing quite like pimping your ride and kitting it out with the latest tech to give you the best ride possible. Although most car gadgets are purely for show or for entertainment, safety gadgets are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among older drivers. If you can install a gizmo that makes you a better and safer driver, then what’s not to like? Before you add these gadgets to your Christmas list, take a look and see which ones work best for improving your safety while driving.
Telematics The hot new thing on the market right now, telematics or ‘black box’ technology claims to simultaneously reduce our car insurance premiums, lower the number of road accidents and improve our driving habits. The telematics device uses GPS and an accelerometer to measure your acceleration, braking, and cornering while driving.
This all translates into a ‘driver score’ that shows you how good/bad a driver you actually are. Insurers are starting to realize the importance of this technology and are offering lower premiums to drivers who are proved to have good scores in this.
Bluetooth in-car speakerphone Not only is using a mobile phone while driving a completely idiotic idea, but it’s also illegal. Some of the newer car models have built in car kits that allow you to talk hands-free, but what about those of us driving around in our beloved 1992 Ford Fiesta? Luckily there are clip-in Bluetooth receivers that allow you to have a portable speaker in your car. Although Bluetooth connectivity isn’t perfect, it’s a decent workaround if you’re commuting and have to take a business call on the go.
Parking sensors Parking sensors are a bit of a double edged sword. On paper, they sound like one of the best gadgets in the world for improving safety – ultrasonic or electromagnetic sensors that emit an alarm when objects are too close to the car. This, in theory, should reduce the number of collisions when parking the car. However, many find that their car insurance prices go up if they install parking sensors, as some insurers believe that drivers rely on the technology too much and end up having more accidents.
Night vision Night driving can be a daunting task, regardless of how used to it you are. With the dark comes a whole host of new hazards that can snare the unwary. To help with this, you can now pick up night vision cameras that attach themselves to the front or rear of the car, feeding a night-vision image video back to a screen on the dashboard. Although this increases driver visibility in darkness, there are some who maintain that it is more of a hazard than a help as it takes the driver’s eyes from the road and could be a distraction.
Lane-assist useful one for night drivers or those who take long road trips. The lane-assist system warns you whenever your car starts to move out of its lane without you indicating to do so. This is achieved either with video sensors, lasers or infrared to identify the lane markings on the road. Once a driver comes too close to the markings, the warning sound and light is given off. A very useful piece of tech to avoid people falling asleep at the wheel.
There is a range of options available to safety conscious drivers who want to ensure that their driving is as good as it can be. Just make sure you check that you’re not just buying any old flashy piece of tech and that it’s actually useful for your driving needs.