As our world becomes more technologically advanced, the car industry has been releasing a steady stream of futuristic gadgets to make our driving experience easier and stress-free. These are some of the most useful in-car gadgets on the market:
Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular across the UK and Europe due to their multitude of benefits. A dashcam (or dashboard camera) is a device that fits onto your car and records what’s viewed through your windscreen. This makes them incredibly useful for recording car accidents, where sometimes it’s difficult to know, or prove, who is at fault. If you have a dashcam, then your insurer can request the footage and easily see who is liable, an easy way to protect your no claims discount (assuming it wasn’t your fault, of course!).
As well as recording car accidents, they’re also a good way to avoid insurance scams. Whilst insurance scams are rare, occasionally, the other driver (or maybe even a pedestrian) will be injured during a car accident and will try to claim on your insurance for the damages. If you have a dashcam installed, your insurers will be able to review the footage to determine whether the injury was actually caused during the accident.
2. Satellite Navigation
Long gone are the days of paper maps, and now it seems that no-one can drive anywhere safely without the use of Satellite Navigation (Sat Nav)! But whilst there are some that think it’s a shame that we’ve lost the map-reading tradition, the fact remains that it’s not particularly convenient to have to pull over to the side of the road to check a fold-out map, only to discover that you’ve travelled ten miles in the wrong direction!
Whilst the wider use of Sat Navs may be another next step towards us being completely at the mercy of our gadgets, there’s no doubt that they’re incredibly useful for a number of reasons. As well as being able to get us from A to B without getting lost (not always guaranteed with a paper map), they also give an estimated time of arrival, allowing you to plan out your trip more efficiently. Not only that, but they’ll make timing adjustments when you’re about to hit traffic, as well as estimating how long the traffic jam will last. If there’s a quicker route available, the Sat Nav will redirect you, effectively cutting down on your carbon footprint.
3. Black box
A black box is a gadget that can be fitted to your car to monitor how well you drive. A black box can measure your speed, how much you accelerate and decelerate, the smoothness of your braking, and how you take the corners.
Whilst this may seem like another step towards a ‘big brother’ state, there are also a lot of benefits to installing a black box. For example, insurance companies are now using black boxes to measure how much of a risk a particular driver poses, and charging them for their annual insurance accordingly. So if you’re a safe driver that sticks to the speed limit, you could actually save money on your car insurance by installing a black box.
Aside from this, you can also use your black box to understand your own driving better – for example, if it’s telling you that you’re accelerating more than necessary, you can adjust your driving accordingly, potentially saving you money on petrol and helping to cut down carbon emissions.
4. Smartphone mount
The world has changed dramatically since the invention of the smartphone – whilst they bring us closer together, the general consensus is that they’ve also caused a decrease in attention span, and an increase in car accidents due to distracted driving. In fact, according to Brake, drivers who use phones are four times more likely to be in an accident involving injuries than drivers who don’t.
The UK penalty for using a phone whilst driving is currently a £200 fine and 6 points on your driving license. You may even lose your license altogether if you’ve been driving for less than two years – so it’s definitely not worth responding to that text whilst you’re behind the wheel.
Purchasing a smartphone mount for your car, which effectively attaches to your dashboard so that you can ‘mount’ your phone for use of google maps or any other hands-free functions, will mean that you’re less distracted on the road, and may even help you to avoid a hefty fine.
5. Electronic key finder
Most people have, at some point or another, been in the position where they can’t find their car keys for love nor money. Although you can always distinctly remember placing them in the designated spot, somehow they have always managed to disappear by the time you next need to go somewhere – less than ideal, especially when you’re in a rush!
If you have a propensity for losing your keys, an electronic key finder may be a lifesaver. They usually come with a handy GPS fob which you can attach to your car keys, house keys, phone or wallet, allowing you to track the fob from your smartphone using the corresponding app. You’ll certainly never be late to work again because you couldn’t find your keys!
If you have, or are considering purchasing, any in-car gadgets, it’s important to make sure that they’re covered under a comprehensive car insurance policy. Most car insurance policies will cover personal belongings as standard up to a certain amount, as long as they’re kept out of sight and in a locked vehicle. If your gadgets aren’t covered under your car insurance, you may need to consider a specialist gadget insurance policy to make sure you’re fully protected.