Driver Safety & Security

 

Vehicle Safety Upgrades

Many of us see the ads for new cars with the latest safety features, such as blind spot warnings, collision avoidance and guided backup cameras; but did you know you can get that same technology on your car without the new car price? Car Toys is your one stop location for driver safety needs, with the largest selection from the top brands under one roof. Car Toys has over 30 years and 9M installs of experience, our team of installation experts can update your car with all the latest driver safety technology.

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Lane Departure Warning

Lane departure warning systems (LDWS) are designed to prevent collisions caused by accidental lane changes. LDWS typically use optical recognition to detect lane markings. When a vehicle equipped with LDWS drifts onto one of these lane markings, the driver will receive an audible alert prompting them to correct the vehicle back into the proper lane.

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Forward Collision Warning

Forward collision warning systems (FCWS) are designed to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by rear-end collisions. Many FCWS use optical recognition to detect when a vehicle gets too close to the car ahead. The driver will then receive an audible or visual warning allowing them to make the necessary adjustment to avoid a collision.

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Backup Camera

Backup cameras or rear-view camera systems are a safety device designed to assist with parking a vehicle and can help with preventing dangerous back over accidents. Backup cameras are typically mounted on the back of a vehicle on or near the license plate and provide real-time video to an in dash screen or rear-view mirror display.

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Backup Sensor

Backup sensors assist a driver in parking their vehicle and can help prevent collisions while entering or exiting a parking space. Backup sensors provide an audible alert in increasing intensity the closer the car gets to another object. Backup sensors are typically flush mounted on the rear bumper but can also be installed on the front of a vehicle as well.

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Blind Spot

Blind spot sensors are designed to assist in preventing collisions while changing lanes. Blind spot sensors are typically radar based systems that mount on the left and right rear bumper and provide an audible or visual warning when another vehicle in an adjacent lane is in a location not easily seen by rearview or side mirrors.

BackupCameras
Backup Camera   

Backup Camera System

BackupCameras

Backup Camera System Shopping Guide

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all vehicles should be equipped with rearview video systems and in 2018 they will be required in all new vehicles. There is an excellent reason for this. Backup cameras can increase driver safety and can even save lives. The back of your vehicle, especially larger ones like SUV’s have large blind spots. These blind spots are big enough to conceal the presence of many different objects that can cause expensive damage to your vehicle. Blind areas can also hide the presence of more important things like a family pet or loved one.

Many people also appreciate the convenience backup cameras provide, especially when parking or towing.

Shopping for an aftermarket backup camera can be intimidating. There are many things to consider when selecting the best backup camera for your needs, from display type to camera location.

Display

The most common display types for backup camera systems are dash mount, replacement LCD rearview mirrors, and aftermarket receivers with backup camera inputs. A less common option, if you already have a display in your vehicle, is integrating a backup camera to your factory screen. The down side to integrating with your factory screen is that aftermarket integration pieces for your specific vehicle may be difficult to locate.

dashmount display

Dash Mount

One good option is a dash mount display like the Garmin Drive portable navigation system with the compatible BC 30 wireless backup camera. The benefit of the wireless cameras is they can save time on installation, but they do have limitations. A wireless camera picture quality may not be as sharp especially when looking at objects further away. It is also possible to get interference from weather or other wireless devices when using a wireless camera.

LCD Rear-View Mirror

An aftermarket LCD mirror is a very good option if you are happy with your factory stereo, want to keep the factory look, and don’t mind a smaller display which is typically anywhere from 4 to 4.3”.

Below are some additional features and models you may want to consider when selecting your replacement mirror.

  • Dual input for second/forward facing camera
  • DVR/Dash Cam (PAC MRD-UN01) (EchoMaster MM-4320-DVR)
  • Built-in Microphone (PAC MRD-UN01)
  • Built-in Navigation (Advent NM102)
  • Auto-dimming (EchoMaster MM-4320-DVR)

Before replacing your factory mirror with an aftermarket one, there are some things you may need to consider. Does your factory mirror have any built-in features you would like to retain? Just a few of the possible functions built into some factory mirrors are OnStar, Bluetooth, and auto-dimming.

There are also vehicles that have factory mirrors that are extremely difficult to replace because of the style of mirror and how it adheres to the windshield. To determine if this is the case with your specific vehicle it is best to check with an expert at your local Car Toys store.

Aftermarket Navigation or DVD Receiver

An aftermarket touchscreen stereo is typically considered the best option for adding a backup camera. Aftermarket radios generally have a larger display (6-7”), which makes it easier to detect objects behind you. Some of these aftermarket stereos when paired with the proper camera add some compelling features as well. Features like multi-view, the ability to alter viewing angles, corner-view and graphic guidelines.

Aftermarket Receivers also give you the option to add many other features your current audio system may be lacking.

Below is a list of just some other features you may want to consider when purchasing a new stereo.

  • Bluetooth for phone calls or streaming audio
  • Navigation
  • Satellite radio
  • DVD player/source unit to RSE (rear seat entertainment)
  • Pre-outs for amplifiers/audio system
  • Android Auto, Apple CarPlay
  • Apps: Pandora, Spotify etc.

Camera

When selecting a backup camera, placement is an important consideration. Some of the most common locations for your aftermarket backup camera are as follows.

  • License Plate
  • Bumper/Flush Mount
  • Vehicle Specific
  • Custom
 

All mounting options come with benefits and drawbacks. License plate mounting is typically the most straightforward and allows for easier adjustments to be made after the installation is complete. Flush mount cameras give a clean look and are more concealed to the elements. Vehicle specific cameras provide a more factory look. Custom installations allow you to install your camera in a location that can assist with a particular application like towing a trailer or boat.

Feature Considerations

  • Parking/Guide Lines: Gives a frame of reference and assists in determining how far away objects are.
  • Horizontal Viewing Angle: The greater the viewing angle, the larger the area you are able to see behind your vehicle.
  • Resolution: Higher resolution can help determine what objects appear on display more easily, especially at further distances.
  • Reversible Image: Particularly useful with dual camera setups or when placing a camera on the front of your vehicle.
  • Multiview: gives you the ability to alter viewing angles, and allows for corner-view.
 
 
 

Installation

As you may have guessed, installation of a backup camera system can be tricky. No matter what camera and display option you select professional installation is recommended. Fortunately Car Toys, with its premier team of experts, is ready and available to help.

Collision_Avoidance_Systems
Collision Avoidance Systems  

Collision Avoidance Systems

Collision_Avoidance

How to Avoid Collisions with High-Tech Safety Systems

Vehicle crashes resulted in more than 40,000 deaths in 2016. According to the NHTSA “, 94 percent of crashes are because of human choice or error.” This sobering statistic makes collision avoidance systems an important addition to any vehicle.

Collision Avoidance Systems

Collision avoidance systems are designed to assist drivers in mitigating the severity of crashes or avoid a collision altogether. Many of these systems include features like blind spot sensors, as well as lane departure and forward collision warnings. These warning systems are not designed to be a replacement for safe driving but are a powerful tool in assisting with overall driver safety.

Many new vehicles are adopting these technologies, but not everyone is ready to purchase a brand new car. Fortunately, there are many aftermarket collision avoidance solutions available and here are a few of the most important features to consider.

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Blind Spot Sensors

One of the most common times to have a collision is when changing lanes. Changing lanes can be especially problematic due to blind spots. Blind spots are the areas around your vehicle that cannot be seen using your side and rear view mirrors.

One device that can be extremely helpful in avoiding an accident is a blind spot sensor. Blind spot sensors are designed to mount on the left and right of your rear bumper. When activating your turn signal, this device alerts you with an audible and visual warning when there is a vehicle in your blind spot. The system can also be configured to run even when your turn signal is not active.

When combined with alert driving, visually checking your blind spot, and always using your turn signal when making a lane change, blind spot sensors provide an important extra layer of protection against collisions.

Forward Collision Warning Systems

Forward collision warning systems use optical recognition to detect vehicles in front of you. When your vehicle gets too close to the car ahead of you, you will receive an audible and visual warning to assist with preventing a collision. Forward collision warning systems along with following the vehicle in front of you at a safe distance can significantly reduce the chance you will have a dangerous rear-end collision. Rear-end Collisions are another common type of accident. Rear-end collisions are especially common when there is a sudden stop in traffic or when someone is temporarily distracted by outside sources.

forward collision

Lane Departure Warning Systems

Lane departure warnings systems are also an important safety feature. Lane departure warning systems typically use optical recognition to detect lane markings. When you unintentionally drift onto these markings, you will receive an audible alert prompting you to correct your vehicle back into your lane. These devices are typically only active when you do not have your turn signal activated although it is important to check the manual to determine if your particular unit has this feature.

lane departure warning

grid lines

Backup Cameras

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends backup cameras or rearview video systems.1 In fact, by May 2018 rearview video systems will be required in all new vehicles.

Studies have shown backup cameras can be very effective in preventing accidents.2 A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows backup cameras to be significantly more effective than mirrors, shoulder glances, or backup sensors in preventing back-over accidents as they can reduce blind zones by approximately 90 percent. As an added benefit, backup cameras, especially cameras with built-in guidelines, are an excellent tool to assist with parking as well.

Driver Safety

Even the most careful drivers are not always aware of every danger in their surroundings, which is why everyone should consider adding collision avoidance features to their vehicle. From backup camera systems to dash cams with lane departure and forward collision warnings, there are many aftermarket solutions available. So shop online for the latest in collision avoidance or stop by your local Car Toys today where our team of experts will be happy to assist in making your commute that much safer.


Resources:

1 NHTSA Safety Technologies

2 Preventing Driveway Tragedies

NSC Motor Vehicle Fatality Estimates

blueTooth
Bluetooth Hands-free  

Hands-Free Bluetooth Options

Couple outside of car

Choosing the Best Hands-Free Bluetooth Option for Your Car

Talking on a wireless phone while driving is banned in 15 states and 38 states have restrictions for wireless phone use by novice drivers.1In an attempt to decrease accidents caused by distracted driving Washington State has passed a law that severely limits the use of personal electronic devices. Under this new law, the “minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device” is all that is allowed, even when stopped at a red light. These stricter laws as well as steeper fines make now the perfect time to consider what hands-free option will work best for you.

  

infinity bluetooth kit

Bluetooth Hands-Free Kits

Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kits come in two main types, universal and vehicle-specific. Vehicle-specific units are an excellent choice if you like all of the features your current stereo has and are only interested in adding Bluetooth for phone calls and streaming audio. It is also a great option if you would like to maintain your vehicles factory look.

The down side to vehicle-specific hands-free kits is that your factory stereo controls are not specifically designed to control your wireless phone through the OEM display. This limitation causes many people to use their cell phone to dial out, browse contacts, and other audio functions which can be distracting, and in some areas may not adhere to local distracted driving laws. Another issue you may run into is that it may be difficult to locate a Bluetooth module for your particular vehicle, in which case you may want to take a look at a universal Bluetooth solution.

  

parrot dashboard display

Universal Bluetooth Options

Universal Bluetooth car kits like the Parrot MKI9200 are a good option if you are unable to locate a vehicle-specific Bluetooth module. The Parrot MKI9200 and similar devices come with a display that is typically mounted in the center console area or on your dashboard. The 2.4” color display allows you to browse your phone book and music information such as playlists, artist, song and more.

You may also want to combine your Hands-free car kit with a cell phone mount. A cell phone mount is typically attached to your dashboard, windshield, rear view mirror, or attached to your climate control vent. For example, the Washington State distracted driving law that took effect July 23rd, 2017; does not allow you to hold onto your wireless phone while driving, which makes a wireless phone mount an essential addition if you do not have another way to operate your device completely hands-free. A cell phone mount is also a good option if you would like to view features such as navigation while driving.

  

Heads-Up Display

The Navdy Head-Up Display unit with GPS Navigation works by projecting the display into the distance in front of your vehicle to keep the road in focus while you are driving. Navdy is the world’s first augmented reality driving device and aftermarket Head-Up Display (HUD) unit with navigation. Navdy allows you to accept, dismiss, or return a phone call with the swipe of a hand.

One feature of Navdy that greatly assists in going hands-free is the Navdy Dial. The Navdy Dial is designed to attach to your steering wheel and control many of your cell phone features. You can spin the dial to scroll through your settings and tap the center button to select an option, a contact, play a song and more. For a truly hands-free experience, just press and hold the Navdy dial to activate Siri or Google Now voice commands.

The Navdy dial coupled with your wireless phone voice commands and all of the features that go along with it make the Navdy Head-Up Display units an excellent option if you are looking to go truly hands-free.

headsUp NavDy display
 
navdy harman display
 
 

apple car play

Aftermarket Stereo with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

Installing an aftermarket stereo with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto provides the best combination of features, safety, and hands-free convenience if you are looking to connect your wireless phone to your car audio system.

Apple CarPlay enabled receivers, allow you to control many of the features on your iPhone completely hands-free through Siri voice commands. To activate Siri through a CarPlay enabled receiver, just press the voice activation button on the touch screen display and give the appropriate command. Some of the features you can activate using voice commands include Apple Music, Apple Maps, messaging, phone calls and more!

 

Android Auto

Android Auto works in a similar way, using data from your wireless phone to connect to your favorite features and apps. The main difference is Android Auto is for Android phones, and CarPlay is for iPhones. This difference is the reason why Android Auto uses Google maps for GPS and Google Now for voice commands instead of Apple Maps and Siri.

Both CarPlay and Android Auto are compelling tools that allow you to keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while still enabling you to utilize many important features on your wireless phone. If you are looking to add features like navigation, Bluetooth calling, wireless music streaming, access to your favorite apps, or outputs for adding audio enhancements like amplifiers and subwoofers, an aftermarket stereo is typically your best option.

android auto header

Going Hands-Free

With increasing dependence on wireless devices, more distractions than ever, and more stringent hands-free device laws having been passed going hands-free with your wireless device is more important now than ever. From Bluetooth hands-free kits to Android Auto and CarPlay receivers Car Toys has options in every price range. So stop by your local store today where our team of experts will be happy to assist with all of your hands-free and car electronics needs!


Resources:

1 Preventing Driveway Tragedies