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LaneFX is More Than Just a Car Gadget
Many of the latest car models include systems that alert you when a car is in your
blind spot. Those of us with older autos have had rely on our own road skills -- until now. Drivaware has introduced LaneFX: When you activate your turn signal,
the device moves the corresponding side-view mirror to expose your blind spot and any vehicles that may be hiding in it. Of course, if you remember your driver's training, a quick glance over your
shoulder does essentially the same thing. The LaneFX is compatible with any car that has power mirrors and is available in a Basic Edition ($197), Highway Edition ($242) and Commuter Edition ($296).
ParkFX For Your SUV - Prevent a Tragedy
At least once a week a child in America is run over, typically in backup (reversing) accidents
Are you extra aware and alert when you're in the vicinity of a sport-utility vehicle, van or a pickup truck that's backing up? Are you especially watchful for children when you're behind the wheel
of a tall-riding vehicle—be it a van, truck or SUV—and you're backing it up?
You should be. According to Consumer Reports, the blind spot behind a tall vehicle such as a Chevrolet
Avalanche truck can extend as much as 51 feet in the case of a small-stature driver about 5 feet 1 inches tall. Even for an average-sized driver, 5 feet 8 inches tall, the blind spot can
extend nearly 30 feet behind the Avalanche, according to the consumer advice publication.
"No one is telling people there's a bigger blind spot in these vehicles," said Janette Fennell, founder and president of the child safety advocacy group Kids
Pointing out her statistics showing at least one child a week in the United States is killed in a "backover" incident, Fennell urges that some kind of "backover warning and prevention
device" be made mandatory on all vehicles.
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.
Compare Backup Sensors & Cameras to ParkFX
Get the Latest Information on the Most Reliable Backup Warning Technologies
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
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.
|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"!
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.
Don't Forget About Your Backup Blind Spots
Available ParkFX is the best park assist system to show you the parking boundaries and dangers around you when you're backing up
Kids ‘N Cars, a consumer organization working to make it safer for children to be around cars, is calling attention to the problem of the blind spot--that area behind the vehicle that you can’t
see from the driver’s seat. The organization notes that at least 58 children were backed over and killed last year alone.
How big can the backup blind spot be? We measured a sedan, minivan, SUV, and pickup to find out. We used a 28-inch-high traffic cone, measuring how far behind the vehicle it would have to be before an
average (5 feet 8 inches) and short (5 feet 1 inch) driver could see it. Larger vehicles tend to have a significantly larger blind spot. (Studies show the length of each blind spot; lighter for an average-height
driver, darker for a shorter driver.)
Later in 2006, tests will be published on backup sensors and rear-view video backup warning cameras that could help to reduce the blind-spot problem. It’s best to always look carefully behind the
vehicle before you get in and again before you put the car in gear. Also, always back up slowly.
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.