There’s no denying that driving a Super Duty truck or a large SUV is potentially riskier than scooting around town in a compact car. The added width, length and, most significantly, the height of these vehicles can make it hard to see other automobiles on the road, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and parking curbs. Fortunately, dozens of upgrades are available for these vehicles to help eliminate blind spots or provide warnings when something or someone is nearby. Let’s look at some of the top truck and SUV safety solutions available for these large vehicles.
Backup and Parking Cameras
The most popular safety upgrade for a pickup truck or SUV is to have a backup camera installed on the rear of the vehicle. These cameras allow you to see objects, people or markings that are obscured by the rear tailgate so you can park more safely. The image from the camera can be shown to the driver on a factory-installed infotainment system display, a replacement rear-view mirror with a built-in screen or an aftermarket multimedia receiver. These systems work without any input from the driver. As soon as the transmission is in reverse, the camera image is shown and the vehicle can be navigated safely.
If your truck is especially large, you may want a second camera installed on the front of the vehicle to make driving into a parking space or navigating tight quarters easier. These cameras are usually mounted high in the front grille and are aimed forward and downward so that everything in front of the vehicle is easy to see. With the camera image, you can pull up into a parking spot or garage without any concern about bumping into anything.
Parking sensors are a great upgrade, even if you have a camera system. Unlike a video display, parking sensors are an active solution that warns you when a situation needs your attention. You don’t need to remember to look at anything. The sensor system will beep when an object or person is within a few feet of your vehicle.
Blind Spot Warning Systems
Blind spot warning systems are an excellent upgrade for trucks and SUVs. These systems are available in two styles. Camera-based solutions show what’s beside your vehicle when you activate a turn signal. You can see whether there’s a car, motorcycle or bicycle hiding beside you before you turn or change lanes. The second type of system is radar-based. These solutions are available in vehicle-specific products that mount to a rear bumper or replace the taillight assemblies in a pickup. If you have an SUV with plastic rear bumper covers, conventional radar-based sensors can be installed behind those covers. Radar-based sensors light up a small indicator in the interior of the vehicle when there’s a vehicle in an adjacent lane. If you activate your turn signal when someone is beside or just behind you, an audible warning is provided to let you know to do a shoulder check before turning or moving over.
Towing Camera Systems
We recently talked about some of the new camera systems available that make operating a truck or SUV that’s hauling a trailer safer. When you’re towing a car trailer or camper, your rear-view mirror is blocked by whatever is attached to the trailer hitch. Your local speciality mobile enhancement retailer can add a rear-view mirror with an integrated display and mount a camera on the back of your trailer. Once in place, you can activate the camera system so you can see what’s behind you. These solutions make passing other vehicles on the road and highway much safer. Seeing behind the vehicle also makes backing into a parking spot much easier while reducing the risk of an accident or damage.
Lighting Upgrades and Alignment
It may seem simple, but seeing where you are going is crucial to driving safely. Forward lighting systems on older trucks may not provide the same light output available from newer offerings. Your speciality mobile enhancement retailer can source and install new light assemblies that will let you see farther at night, or they can retrofit new HID bulbs into existing light assemblies. Keep in mind that your safety also depends on the people you share the road with being able to see. Proper bulb selection and headlight alignment are crucial to ensure that you aren’t blinding oncoming drivers. If you’ve added weight to the back of your truck, changed the diameter of the tires or had a leveling kit installed, have your headlights adjusted and aimed properly so that you can see safely.
Many other truck and safety upgrades are available. To find a retailer in your area that specializes in vehicle safety, visit the dealer locator here on the Vision Zero website.