If you are one of the unfortunate among us who has to spend several hours in a car everyday just getting to work and back, you will no doubt have had moments when you wished that you had gadgets in your car to make your commute safer, more bearable, or go by quicker. Fortunately, there are many such gadgets on the market, and while many are just plain silly, if not actually dangerous and distracting, there are many others that offer real value for your money. Below is a selection of useful and must-have gadgets that we believe will add value to your life on the road.
Drinking and driving is a really bad idea, no matter what the law in your corner of the world allows. The ideal is not to have any alcohol in your blood when driving, but it is easy to have one, or several beers too many, and even if you feel fine the next morning, the truth is that you can still be over the legal limit and legally drunk even if you stopped drinking eight or ten hours earlier.
This handy gadget from Amazon allows you to check your blood-alcohol level before you drive the next morning, which is something your insurance company, the law, and other road users will really appreciate.
Reversing camera kit
Even though back-up cameras and even auto-parking are becoming more widely available in more cars, there are still many cars that do not have these features. Which is where this nifty kit from Amazon comes into the picture, so to speak.
The device, which is waterproof, can be installed on the licence plate, or any convenient location close to the center of the car, and the 1350 viewing angle gives you a high-resolution view of everything behind you. So if you have trouble reversing through, or into tight spots, this camera kit offers the perfect solution.
EE Buzzard in-car 4G Hotspot
This 4G Wi-Fi hotspot creator from EE may be no larger than a soft drink can, but it packs a mighty punch. Consisting of a Huawei made 4GB dongle, a 12V car charger, and a container to keep everything together, this gadget creates an instant Wi-Fi hotspot in your car that can support up to ten devices simultaneously.
However, how well the device performs depends entirely on network coverage, which means that there may be dips in performance as you pass through 3G areas, or other areas with no G’s at all. Nonetheless, metropolitan areas should be adequately covered by 4G networks, so this device is definitely worth looking into.
Garmin Dash Cam 20
If you spend a lot of time on the road, a dash-mounted camera from Garmin may just be what you needed, since it could have offered incontrovertible proof that you did not cause the accident you are currently being sued for. Of course, a dash-cam can also be used to record your road trips (for the memories), or to prove to your boss that there really was a traffic jam that made you late for work again.
This particular dash-cam is extremely user-friendly, and it records high-definition video in a continuous loop onto an SD card in 255MB chunks. The 4GB memory card that comes in the box can store 48 minutes’ worth of full HD video, or 2.2 hours worth at a resolution of 720p, or 4.8 hours’ worth of VGA video. Moreover, the camera has a built-in microphone to capture sound, and a nifty, adjustable G-load sensor that automatically stores video immediately preceding, during, and after a sudden direction change, impact, severe braking event, or other evasive man oeuvres.
iODB2 Engine Data Reader
If you are serious about improving, or modifying your driving style to save money on fuel and tires, this particular OBD data reader is just what you need. While it is able to retrieve, and even erase fault codes on the products of 38 car manufacturers, its main advantage is that several critical engine functions can be monitored on any smart phone in real time.
Moreover, it can monitor operating conditions such as acceleration, deceleration, fuel consumption, vehicle speed, engine speed, and other critical data, such as the intake air temperature- all via Bluetooth. All it takes is to plug the device into the diagnostic connector, and download the free app (available for both Android and iOS) onto your smart phone. Unique versions of the reader, offering marginally different levels of access are available for BMW and Volkswagen-Audi group cars.
Flashlight that can start your car
This flashlight does not only provide light in emergencies; fully charged, it packs enough power to recharge a smart phone up to four times. In addition, it can serve as a power pack to start your car up to 20 times if there is not enough battery power available, and the best part is that it does not have to live in the trunk- it is small enough to fit in the glove compartment.