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|NHTSA estimates that 1 out of 25 accidents on US highways is due to improper lane change or lane merge. Get in on the latest and coolest
mobile electronics technology. Car gadgets are interesting, but who are you going to trust to show you the vehicles in your blind spot area? Lane FX is safe, reliable, affordable and universal:
It works in any vehicle (sedan, truck or SUV) equipped with power mirrors for lane change and also for parking assist. LaneFX is also available with ParkFX Park Assist and Curb Exposure
System. ParkFX tilts your side mirror(s) downward when you put the vehicle in reverse to show you the curb
(during parallel parking) or the parking boundaries around you. Get ParkFX and avoid giving your rims costly "curb rash"!
Key Strategies for Total Driver On-Road Awareness
Defensive Driving is the Number One Key to Safe Driving Habits
If you've been out on the roads, you know that not everyone drives well. Some people speed aggressively. Others wander into another
lane because they aren't paying attention. Drivers may follow too closely, make sudden turns without signaling, or weave in and out of traffic.
Aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one third of all traffic crashes. But inattentive driving is becoming more of a problem as people "multi-task" by talking on the
phone, eating, or even watching TV as they drive. We can't control the actions of other drivers. But learning defensive driving skills can help us avoid the dangers caused by other people's bad
Skills That Put You in Control
Before you get behind the wheel of all that glass and steel, here are some tips to help you stay in control:
Stay focused. There are a lot of things to think about when driving: road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws and signals, following directions, being aware of the
cars around you, checking your mirrors - the list goes on. Staying focused on driving - and only driving - is key.
Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can
get overconfident in their driving knowledge and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential
problems - like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute. Obviously, alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs) affect a driver's reaction
time and judgment. Driving while tired has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of accidents. So rest up before your road trip.
Watch out for the other guy. Part of staying in control is being aware of the drivers around you and what they may suddenly do so you're less likely to be caught off guard. For
example, if a car speeds past you on the highway but there's not much space between the car and a slow-moving truck in the same lane, it's a pretty sure bet the driver will try to pull into your
lane directly in front of you. Anticipating what another driver may do prepares you to react.
Seven Secrets to Total Driving Awareness
When you drive defensively, you're taking control of the situation and keeping your eyes open for aggressive or inattentive drivers who might cause an accident. Here are seven easy things you
- Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people's bad driving. Leave plenty
of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions far ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over
to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you're worried, try to get off the road or highway by turning right or taking the next exit if it's safe to do so.
- Assume the worst. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. While driving, imagine that other drivers (especially truck drivers)
don't see you when you are making your way into their path. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians and pets along the road.
- Stay cool, calm, and collected. It's best to avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers. As hard as it can be, ignore any aggressive facial or hand gestures. And don't
race aggressive drivers - you run the risk of inciting their road rage. Other drivers do stupid things. The best drivers don't get mad or try to get even.
- Get the authorities involved. If you see an aggressive driver or trouble ahead, get to a safe place to pull over and call authorities or the police. Any information you can
provide - a description of the vehicle, its license plate number, the direction it's going - will be helpful. Some areas allow you to use your cell phone to call the appropriate authorities with
special numbers like #77. If an aggressive driver crashes or causes an accident, try to stop safely a good distance from the scene. Wait for the police to arrive so that you can tell them about
the aggressive behavior you witnessed.
- Don't drive if you are under the influence or very sleepy. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications affect a person's judgment, including the ability to make
important braking and steering decisions on the road. That means you'll be less able to react quickly and drive defensively. Sleepy drivers can be just as bad as intoxicated drivers, so make
frequent rest stops or let a friend drive if you're tired.
- Don't take risks. When in doubt, don't pass. And keep a safe following distance. That way you can avoid a collision, stay in your lane, and not get rear-ended if the driver
in front of you slams on the brakes.
If you're interested in taking a full defensive driving course, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. All states keep a list of defensive driving courses that are approved by the
state - even some that are online. They cost money, but some insurance companies give people who've taken the course a discount in insurance rates.
Happy (defensive) driving!
Why Turn Your Head Away From Traffic?
Turn your side mirror instead whenever you need to change lanes!
LaneFX is a controller that links your car's power mirrors and turn signals, and whenever you use your turn signal, it automatically moves the mirrors outwards so you can instantly see
in your blind spot. LaneFX can also be outfitted with ParkFX, which tilts both mirrors down so you can see where you're parking.
What a great idea—this beats the hell out of that "objects are closer than appear" concept which gives you a distorted view of reality in that right-side rearview mirror.
LaneFX does make two assumptions, though: that you have power mirrors in your car and that you actually use your turn signals when you're going to change lanes. You do signal when you're changing
lanes, don't you? Sale prices start below $170. What a deal! Get one in time for the holidays and have safer winter driving.
LaneFX Standard Features to Make Every Lane Change Safer
Q. Even though LaneFX is ultra simple concept, you've managed to make LaneFX a very feature rich product. Correct?
A. Absolutely. Let me give you a brief walk through of the features and
add-on options of the LaneFX system:
- First we talked about the universal fit of LaneFX.
- Second, ease of installation (which you have to remember quick installations mean less cost of
ownership to the customer and faster seamless installations mean higher customer satisfaction). The way we were about to simplified installation on hundreds if not thousands of power mirror systems
is by using an Intelligent Learn Technology. So all the installer has to do is hook up a set of 3 wires on either side of LaneFX module. And then all the installer has to do is start learn mode
and the unit "learns" the
wiring setup of the vehicle and configures itself on that basis. No complex wiring diagram, no programming required.
- Third, all mirror movements are fully customizable at installation. We wanted to make
LaneFX as responsive to the driver and tailored to the driver's preferences as possible. So with every LaneFX unit, each driver can customize how far the mirror opens up, how long it pauses when it
gets there, and even how fast the mirror should move. You can control your preferences separately for the right and left mirror.
- LaneFX is intended to be a
concealed unit either under the dash or in the trunk. So these adjustments should be made at installation and you can always tweak them or change occasionally after that.
- Another feature we offer in
the system is control of both mirrors. So you control the left and right mirror separately or concurrently.
Q. And all of these features you mentioned are standard in every LaneFX box?
A. Yes. That's correct.
Q. But I also understand that you have a number of optional add-on components that a customer can choose to further enhance his/hers LaneFX system.
A. Our team has worked very diligently to research
what consumers would like to have in their complete LaneFX system. Let me share with you a quick list of what some of these options are:
- First is a very inexpensive add-on component we have that we think
is going to be very popular, especially among entry level domestic vehicles is the optional Mirror Speed Boost. With this component owners of vehicles with slow moving power mirrors
can safely boost their mirror movement speeds up to 200% of OEM speed. This will provide drivers with a way to ensure that LaneFX movement is responsive to their driving needs. All of the mirror speeds
are customizable by the driver from 80% to 200% of OEM speed, and those adjustments can be done separately for left and right mirrors.
- Second we have a great optional component that's quite frankly
is a driver awareness system in and of itself: ParkFX. ParkFX is an active park assist and curb exposure system that uses your side mirrors
to expose the parking boundaries around your vehicle as your backing up. Much in the same LaneFX moves your mirror outward to expose the blind spot next to you and behind you, ParkFX
tilts the blind spot mirror downward when you put the vehicle in reverse to expose either
the parking lines let's say if you were in a mall parking lot, or more importantly to expose the curb in parallel parking situations. When you take the car out of reverse, the mirror comes back to
its original position, every single time. Just like LaneFX, ParkFX is universal and fully-customizable to the driver's preferences. The system
works on any vehicle, new or old, domestic or import, manual or automatic transmission. And you can choose to have ParkFX control the left, right or both mirrors. And to be complete, you can also configure
at installation how much ParkFX should tilt each of these mirrors when the vehicle is backing up. So for a big SUV, you can choose the blind spot mirrors to tilt down farther than say someone who drives
a small sedan. Everything is universal and fully-customizable to your needs.
- Thirdly is an add-on component we are very proud of: our Turn Signal Link integration kit. I put my blinker on and that activates
LaneFX to show me my blind spot before I change lanes? Yes exactly. And you can also configure the Turn Signal Link integration kit to activate only when the vehicle is moving above certain speed,
like over 55mph to have it only activate on when you're on the highway, or say over 35mph in an urban city setting.
- The forth in our options list is a plug-and-play wireless controls kit. We've heard time and time again that drivers would
ideally like the LaneFX controls at the finger tips, just like your horn or turn signal stalk. this tiny module I am holding is an example of a left-hand wireless control. So we designed this wireless
kit so that installers never have to worry about running wires to the steering wheel (which is a no no) and to give the customer to place the controls anywhere. The wireless controls kit includes two
controls for left and right and is designed to fit behind one of your steering-wheel spokes. The placement is meant to avoid competing with the increasing number of OEM buttons on the front
of the steering wheel. Also the placement behind the top spoke make the LaneFX control within the reach of a finger tip without having to move a hand off the steering wheel regardless in you drive
with your hands in the 10-to-2 position or racing style.
- One more plug-and-play optional component which is our Speed Sensitivity Mode. This is an
add-on component that integrates with OBDII port of virtually any vehicle and continuously reads the vehicle speed. The LaneFX module is pre-programmed to take advantage of this option and it then
produces more dynamic mirror movement based on the vehicle speed. This ensures an ever greater degree of responsiveness to the driver's needs in real-time. So LaneFX moves the mirror faster at say
70mph than at 55mph? Exactly right, and it also pauses less when it reaches its maximum expansion angle at higher speeds.
Let me tell you about the coolest product I never reviewed. It's a wonderfully complex solution to a problem that shouldn't
even be a problem. This product, LaneFX, is a microcontroller that interacts with the side mirrors in your car.
You want to change lanes, and you glance in your side mirror. It looks clear. But in your LaneFX-equipped car, you can press a button and the mirror sweeps out to show you the blind spot
beyond the limit of your peripheral vision. Then it returns to its normal position. If you flick on your turn signal, the mirror also does its sweep.
It works on either side of the car, and it also has an extended mode for when you want to keep an eye on traffic alongside and behind you, as when you're merging onto a freeway. Now let's
say you're going to parallel-park. You slip your car into reverse—and the right mirror angles itself downward so you can see the curb.
Although that's the end of the LaneFX's bag of tricks, it's just the beginning of the ways it can be implemented. You can customize how far each mirror moves, how long it pauses, and how
long it takes to get there. You can even make mistakes in hooking up the wires to the mirror motors; the microcontroller has a learn mode so you can teach it which wires to use to control each
motion. An LCD screen prompts you through every step of the procedure.
Compare Backup Sensors & Cameras to ParkFX for the Most Reliable Backup Warning Technology
Not all reversing aids are equal. The sensing technology and the indicating method are critical to your driving safety.
How A Park Assist System Alerts You
One option is video, which at first seems like a great choice. But one major flaw with having a video camera affixed to the back of your car with a monitor on your dashboard is
that it also forces you to look forward while backing up. That can disturb your perception, your reaction time, and feel very unnatural. They are also extremely expensive, and you'll pay thousands
of dollars to have a video system attached to your car, whether from the dealer or an aftermarket supplier.
Compare that to other bargain basement devices which actually have LED displays (little red lights) on your dashboard. These are cumbersome -- almost useless -- for much the same
reason as video: when you drive in reverse, you naturally look behind you, and you'll never see the little red lights. They are also hard to read in bright sunlight.
Some other bargain technologies use a tone which beeps more rapidly as you get closer to an obstacle. You can at least hear the relative distance just by listening to the beeps,
but you have to practice a bit to really understand how far you are from danger.
That's why an audible voice sensor is best. It tells you in a spoken voice exactly how far away you are. Not only do you not have to awkwardly
look forward at your dashboard,
you'll know without guessing how much further you can safely back up.
How A Reversing Aid Detects Objects
If you've never seen or used a reversing aid, you might be surprised at how technically advanced they actually can be.
Reversing aids use a variety of technologies to sense an object behind the car. Some units use Doppler radar, and others use infrared sensors, but by far the most accurate method of detection
is the one the U.S. Navy uses on its submarines: sonar.
Sonar can operate in any weather, including direct sunlight or rain. And it doesn't require that the car be moving in order to sense an obstruction.
ParkFX is the 360-Degree Backup Solution That's Less Costly Than Backup Sensors, Park Assist and Rearview Cameras
Deaths increase. Ninety-one children were killed in 2003 by drivers who didn’t see them while backing up, according to Kids and Cars ( www.kidsandcars.org ),
a nonprofit organization working to improve child safety around vehicles. Those deaths represented a 57 percent increase from 2002. During the first six months of 2004, more than 40 deaths have
been attributed to backover accidents, many involving vehicles with large blind spots.
Kids and Cars compiles these statistics; the federal government does not track such incidents. Janette Fennell, president of the organization, believes that backover accidents are underreported
and that the actual number of children killed or injured is much higher.
Blind spots grow with vehicle size. A likely reason for the increase in injuries is that minivans, pickups, and SUVs account for more than half of all vehicles sold. Many
have large rear-view blind spots.
Last year, Consumer Reports began measuring the blind spot of each vehicle we test, checking the distance for short drivers (5 feet 1 inch tall) and
for those of average height (5 feet 8 inches tall). The biggest blind spot: 51 feet for a short driver in a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup. But even small sedans can have blind spots of more than 40
feet. We regularly update vehicle blind-spot information, which is available on this site free of charge in The
problem of blind spots.
Systems other than ParkFX combine a camera with sensors, so we tested each system independently; it is listed with camera systems in the Ratings.
All the systems we tested are potentially useful. They’re a good complement to looking around the vehicle before entering, and checking the rear window and rear-view mirror just before and
while moving in reverse.
More than 2,400 children are accidentally backed-up over each year in the U.S.
And of those, more than 100 die. With the proliferation of SUVs and mini-vans, drivers aren't aware of the enormous rear view blind spots that prevent
them from seeing what's behind them, especially small objects, animals, people, and children. Some of these blind spots are even greater than the length of an average driveway! Senators Hillary
Clinton (D-New York) and John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) have recently proposed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations aimed at reducing accidents that frequently
kill or injure children in cars. But until that legislation is passed, it's up to the driver to protect their loved-ones and prevent a tragedy by using a Park
Assist system or a backup
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 2,767 people were treated in emergency rooms from July 2000 through June 2001 because of backovers. "This is a huge problem," Fennell
said. "A lot of [the problem] is due to the change in our vehicle mix" that has more people driving tall-profile vehicles, she said.
Indeed, Fennell's research indicates that "in 60 percent of the [backover] cases, it's a truck, van or SUV that's involved," Fennell said. The reduced rearward visibility is caused by
the design and tall profile of SUVs, pickup trucks and even vans.
The top edge of the tailgates and liftgates in these vehicles typically sits high and so do the vehicles themselves. This means that unaware children and small-stature adults and anything not
tall enough to be visible in the rear window glass might be run over as the vehicle is backing up.
Consumers can choose from a wider range of aftermarket vehicle-backup systems since our last report, including new and improved designs.
All such systems are intended to help drivers detect objects within the blind spot behind the vehicle.
New are camera systems such as the Audiovox and ParkFX we
tested that offer a “picture in the mirror” feature. The display is on a mirror that fits on top of or replaces the existing rear-view mirror, so you don’t have to choose between
looking at the display and at the rear-view mirror while backing up. ParkFX also combines a camera with an audible sensor, so you can see and hear
potential trouble. We would like to see more backup warning systems on the market that combine camera and sensor technologies.
Backup systems are typically marketed as parking aids, not safety equipment. But our tests show that the camera models can also help drivers avoid backover-accident injuries and fatalities.