What Are the Best Safety Add-Ons for Cars?

Car manufacturers are deep into the technology game, constantly trying to outdo one other to come up with the latest and greatest gadget that sways car shoppers in their direction.

Unfortunately, this technology isn’t always found in used cars. And while you can rest assured that each used vehicle we sell at Jim Shorkey has undergone rigorous safety and mechanical inspections by our knowledgeable and trained mechanics, these cars may not match the same technological level as their new counterparts. But never fear, here at Jim Shorkey, we found this Consumer Reports list that details three of the best a la carte safety systems you may want to consider.

  • Radars, cameras, and other sensors are used by forward-collision warning systems to scan the area in front of your car and then warn if they calculate that you’re closing in too fast on a car. The leading aftermarket purveyor is Mobileye. A top product in their line is the Mobileye560. Using a miniature camera installed behind the inside mirror and a small display with a built in speaker that mounts to the dash, the Mobileye 560 gives audible and visual warnings if you are following too closely, begin leaving your lane without signaling, or are approaching a pedestrian or bicyclist. It can even read speed-limit signs, monitoring your speed, and dip your high beams automatically. You can also use a smart phone as the display for its various warning functions.
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  • Looking where the driver may struggle to see, blind-spot warning (BSW) systems provide alerts when vehicles are lurking in the blind zones in adjacent lanes. Several aftermarket kits are available to add this useful feature, complete with sensors, electronics, and LED warning lights that are installed near the outside mirrors. When the system detects a vehicle in one of the blind zones, it lights up LEDs mounted near your side mirrors. An audible warning chirps if you start changing lanes into the path of a vehicle or some other obstruction alongside

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  • Backup cameras are both a safety and a convenience item. With their bumper-level view, they can help prevent back-over accidents, and they’re also very handy for parking in tight spaces and for lining up a trailer with your hitch. Prices start at around $100, with many name-brand systems available in the $300 to $500 range. The easiest to install are wireless systems, which use a small transmitter to beam a signal from the rear-mounted camera to a display screen on or near the dashboard. That’s simpler to install than a wired system, which involves running concealed cable from trunk to cabin. Features to look for include a wide angle of view, night-vision capabilities, and guide lines that overlay the video image, showing the car’s path. To minimize interference from other devices, look for a system that uses a digital rather than analog signal.