Tuesday October 25th, 2011 22:55 How Cameras Are Revolutionising Reversing

Car reversing cameras are becoming one of the hottest high-tech gadgets in the automotive industry, and it’s not just families who are flocking to the technology. Empty nesters in their RVs and mobile homes, truckies and tradies alike are embracing the safety and cost benefits of either buying a vehicle with a factory fitted unit or purchasing an after market system. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a reversing camera, which have the potential to save lives and even save you from having to claim on your car insurance.

How they work and what they cost

Reversing cameras are quite simple in the way they work. A small camera is installed at the appropriate height at the back of a vehicle and is connected via wire – or even wireless – to an LCD screen, which is usually attached at a convenient spot on the windscreen or dash, or in the case of factory fitted units, built into the console. As with all technology, you get what you pay for. A basic after market camera with a small screen is going to cost just over $100, but top of the range models which can be fitted to the rear vision mirror can cost around $600. The screen comes in a range of sizes, clarity and perspective – the cameras can take some getting used to as they usually have a very wide angle lense. It will cost a few dollars to have a unit installed as well.

Potential life savers

It’s young families and the makers of cars aimed at this segment of the automotive market that are responsible for the boom in reversing cameras. More and more cameras are coming fitted to family cars as standard, especially as the surge in sales of SUVs shows no signs of slowing. Cameras are most often fitted to wagons and larger SUVs and 4WDs because of their height and size, meaning it is hard to see a small child behind the vehicle. Kids can dash out when drivers least expect it as well, meaning a reversing camera is going to catch them better than any rear vision mirrors. While built-in cameras are usually found in higher spec models, expect them to become more prevalent in basic models before too long.

Preventing bumps and scrapes

Despite the obvious safety benefits of a reversing camera, they can also save you embarrassment and money when it comes to backing a vehicle. Reverse parking is something we are all taught while learning to drive, but it is often a forgotten skill as drivers prefer to find a traditional parking spot which they can drive in to front on. Cameras are bringing back reverse parking, especially when they are coupled with reverse sensors. They give drivers confidence to tackle trickier parking spots by helping to eliminate the worries of hitting another car and causing damage. So it’s worth checking with an insurer if you are searching for car insurance quotes if there is any discount for a camera system.

RVs, trailers and truckies

The benefits of a reversing camera to bigger and longer vehicles far outweigh the costs of installing one. Empty nesters with their RVs, caravans and mobile homes simply couldn’t do without them as they are constantly backing into caravan sites and tight spots in town. The cameras can be mounted on trailers and caravans as well, making them invaluable for holidaymakers, truckies and tradies who are always reversing into specific spots that require precision and patience. Just remember, don’t rely only on the reversing camera. There is no substitute for a second pair of eyes outside the vehicle who can help guide you into tough spots.

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Sunday September 4th, 2011 11:19 Choosing the Right Winter Tires

For obvious reasons, winter is the most dangerous time to drive. In some areas, 10% of all car accidents are caused by icy roads. It is very important to drive with the right tires.

There are a few things to take into consideration when you look for the right tires:

1. Check your owner’s manual. You can’t put tires on your vehicle without knowing which ones are compatible. The manual will tell you what size and type of tires to use.

2. Consider metal studs. In some really cold climates, tires with metal studs may be necessary. In other areas, metal studs are illegal. Make sure you understand the laws and what you need before you purchase them. Alternatively, you can consider just putting chains over your regular tires. Just make sure they are attached properly and aren’t damaging the tread.

3. Use the same tires. The last thing you want to do is install different tires on different parts of the vehicle. Some people will put more durable tires on the rear of the vehicle, where they think they need the best traction. Installing different tires on your vehicle can cause any number of alignment issues. This can not only make driving more difficult, it can cause a stress imbalance which damages the vehicle.

Driving with the right tires is essential to staying safe in the winter. You also need to make sure you practice safe driving habits. Tires won’t guarantee your safety on icy roads, but they can drastically increase your chances of driving over them safely.

Auto dealers will help you if you have any questions or need advice. However, you will need to do your research first. Show that you’ve read the owner’s manual and understand what you are looking for. Afterwards, they can help you narrow the type of tires you need.

About the author: Kalen Smith writes about car accident claims and whiplash compensation. Kalen also writes about personal injuries , sports injuries, work related claims and asbestos related illnesses as well as medical negligence.

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Tuesday August 30th, 2011 12:21 7 Ridiculous Features on Flashy Cars

Fancy cars often add lots of nonsensical features. Economical vehicles are just as safe and work just as well. There is no reason to pay more for useless features.

Some of the add-ons provided in these vehicles just don’t have a purpose. They include:
1. Smart transmission. The Smart transmission is a hybrid between an automatic and manual transmission. The driver would get the benefit of using an automatic transmission, while underneath the car decided to shift gears manually. The transmission never seemed to figure out when to shift gears properly and was stuck in the wrong gear for miles before shifting.

2. Personal car communicator. This feature was setup to announce when an intruder was sitting in the back seat. An interesting safety mechanism, but hardly effective. Most muggers or assailants would probably have no problem accosting the driver after the warning was sent to them. The system also tended to go off unnecessarily when a friend or family member was sitting in the back seat.

3. Self-parking cars. Some cars have actually been programmed to park themselves. Unfortunately, the driver inevitably has to take over and apply the brakes to avoid damaging the vehicle.

4. The chilled glove compartment. Why do people need to keep their glove compartment below 40 degrees Fahrenheit? Were they planning on storing their frozen groceries in there instead of the back of the vehicle? Even more senseless was the fact they overheated in the summer months, because they depended on the car’s heating/cooling system.

5. Emergency trunk release. This is supposed to make cars safer. Apparently no one ever stopped to wonder why. How often have children been trapped in a trunk? Do you really need an emergency trunk release to get them out? Sounds more like an excuse to tack a little more on to the price tag of the car. Sometimes the trunk release has been known to malfunction and go off while driving, causing more hazards than it prevents.

6. Power sliding doors. Power sliding doors are waste of energy. Many people have gotten their fingers or clothes unnecessarily caught in these stupid things. They were designed so drivers could open them up to 10 yards away. Why was this necessary?

7. Window wipers that sense the rain. Some window wipers have been programmed to turn on when it starts raining. Like most features, this was never really programmed properly. They have been known to randomly turn on at inappropriate times. This could be distracting or dangerous.

 

About the author: Kalen Smith writes about car accident claims and whiplash compensation. Kalen also writes about personal injuries , sports injuries, work related claims and asbestos related illnesses as well as medical negligence.

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