Buying a 3rd party blind spot monitor can be very difficult and confusing with so many options available. So, instead of simply picking it from the sea of brands, it is important to know about the requirements related to your vehicle. Thus, you make a worthwhile purchase.
This article will guide you through finding the best blind spot detection system for your vehicle at affordable prices. Most significantly, it will answer why you need this system.
What Is A 3rd Party Blind Spot Monitor?
A 3rd party blind spot monitor is also known as an aftermarket blind spot monitoring system. It is a custom-designed kit available for a variety of vehicles.
The primary purpose of this system is to look after the blind spots of the car and alert the driver of any possible danger. Every vehicle has these blind spots or specific areas where it is difficult for the driver to detect any danger while driving.
Due to this, these advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) come in handy. They notify the driver if another vehicle appears within the range of its blind zone and prevents the collision. For those vehicles that do not have a factory-installed system, the universal blind spot monitoring systems are more useful.
Function Of A 3rd Party Blind Spot Monitor
The blind spot monitor makes use of ultrasonic and radar sensors. These sensors are housed on the left and right sides of the rear bumper and the cameras in the side view mirrors. From these locations, they help to monitor the areas which a driver may not see.
The driver also has the option to turn on/off the system with the help of the control panel button. Some monitors have driver interface commands inside the infotainment system. Usually, these 3rd party blind spot monitors are operational at 25 miles per hour. Even if a system obtains signals of a potential vehicle entering the danger zone, it directs the attention of the driver towards it.
Typically, the blind spot system warns the driver through the following methods:
- Visual warning
- Audible warning
- Intervening with the vehicle operation.
The visual warnings include flashing the bright light icons that the driver can easily notice. These icons are usually located on the side mirror and rear mirror. Some system also accompanies the audible warnings with it. It generates a chime or beeping tone that can grasp the attention of the driver in emergency cases. Ultimately, it leaves all margin of error out of question.
The more advanced or sophisticated system supports the driver with practical signs such as the vibration of steering or applying brakes to lower the speed. Still, the driver has the control to alter these computer commands. Other systems have cameras attached to the vehicles that can deliver visual images of the adjacent vehicles in danger zones.
Other Type Of 3rd Party Blind Spot
Another type of blind spot detection system is factory-installed monitors. Automotive manufacturers install these systems as an upgraded feature of protection in new models of vehicles. With time, more manufacturers are offering it for free in vehicles. But they are only available in the latest models. Also, they are custom-tailored according to the specific need of a vehicle.
Variations of the blind spot system
There are different varieties of the 3rd party blind spot monitor for diverse vehicles. They are as follows:
- Blind spot warning
- Blind spot assist
- Lane changing assist
- Active overtaking alarm
Blind Spot Warning
A blind spot warning detects the vehicles within the range of their blind spot and informs the driver of their presence.
Blind Spot Assist
Blind spot assist automatically applies brakes and steers the wheels to prevent collisions. It happens mainly during a lane-changing maneuver and if the passing vehicles occupy the adjacent space.
Lane Changing Assist
The Lane change assists notify the driver of fast-approaching vehicles from behind. As soon as the other vehicle enters the detection range, the driver will receive signals with the LED indicator and buzzer sound.
Active Overtaking Alarm
An active overtaking alarm notifies the driver if the vehicle is approaching near the host vehicle at a higher speed. If it gets inside the blind spots, the driver will have knowledge of it. And that being the case, a precaution against road accidents, especially on highways.
Monitors Based On The Features
There are different features available on third-party blind spot monitor systems, engineered as per the vehicle requirements. Some of the features of the blind spot monitor, distinguished by their characteristics, are listed below.
- Rear Crossing Alert
- Speed Limit
- Detection Range And Accuracy
Rear Crossing Alert
It is a system that helps you detect any moving object from behind your vehicle. It comes in handy at the places like parking lots. There, the rear crossing alert monitors both the left and right sides of the automobile. It activates when the driver shifts the vehicle to “Reverse” gear.
If another vehicle enters the range from either side while the driver is reversing the vehicle, the alarm triggers. The driver will receive a visual warning on the side mirror, rear mirror, and dashboard. If traffic appears on the left side of the vehicle, the left side light will illuminate to signal and vice versa.
The sensors located on either side of the bumper use radar or ultrasonic waves. The rear crossing alert and blind spot monitoring system use the same sensors. The system will warn the driver with visual or audible signals.
The 3rd party blind spot monitor system usually works at 20-35 Mph. At this speed, most blind spot systems can monitor their surroundings. Some monitors directly detect the vehicles alongside them, while others sense the vehicle from a few car lengths. It makes it safer and more reliable than the latter. But the limitation of speed makes it unreliable on city roads for noticing other traffic and small objects around it.
With time, more steadfast third party blind spot systems are getting recognition in the market. These systems are inactive at 6 MPh to prevent false alarms while maneuvering at low speed. There are also maximum speed difference thresholds. This way, the alarm will not trigger when passing parked cars.
Detection Range And Accuracy
A typical 3rd party blind spot monitor system has a detector that senses the nearby vehicles. It has a processor that collects the data and makes decisions related to warning the driver. For that reason, the system calculates the closing vehicle’s speed and distance from the host vehicle. If it is inside the warning zone, the system’s alarm gets off.
The detection range of the blind spot monitor can stretch towards the lateral and longitudinal directions. But this can result in erroneous alerts because of the roadway curvature and the range of the monitoring system. Also, the geometry of the roadway and the vehicle’s heading can affect the accuracy of the system.
The possibility of further misjudgement can also increase along the longitudinal direction, especially on the left side of the vehicle. This is mainly because of the natural roadway geometry. So, the accuracy and detection range of the system relays majorly on the factors mentioned above. It is therefore crucial, to take these aspects into account when comparing third-party blind spot monitoring systems.
These advanced driving assistance systems have the technology, that is highly sensitive but more prone to getting damage. It is because the system is usually located in areas more likely to get impacted, even from a minor collision. Usually, when the 3rd party blind spot monitoring system gets affected by an accident, they need calibration.
Calibration is the process of ensuring the monitoring system works properly after the collision. It can be costly, but the durability depends mainly on how careful the driver is on the road. On top of that, the durability of the system relays on its maintenance. So, if the system is properly looked after and attention is paid to its functionality, then the life span can be increased.
Vehicles that do not have a factory-installed blind spot system need a blind spot monitor kit also known as 3rd party blind spot monitor kit. Although companies offer a manual guide to installing it in the vehicles, still professional installation is recommended. The correct installation will allow your system to work properly and efficiently. Though they are usually universal, they do not require to be specifically prone towards certain model vehicles. Yet, you can select the 3rd party blind spot monitor that caters to the more specific requirements of your vehicle.
Why do You need To Buy A Blind Spot Detection System?
Although, the benefits of this kind of technology are fairly obvious, it can be confusing for people to execute their decision of buying a 3rd party blind spot monitoring system. Here are some of the reasons why the blind spot system should be your priority when it comes to the safety of you and your family.
At times it can be difficult for the driver to keep eyes on the road while constantly looking at the rear and side mirrors to prevent a collision. This is where the additional assistance comes in handy. It provides extra coverage and security to the vehicle and the person driving it. Plus, there can be times when the driver can get lost in imagination while driving, which may also result in road accidents.
It is especially true for large commercial vehicle drivers. They have to be on road for the most of their day and sometimes nights as well. It makes them exhausted, and they may also lose their concentration. As for the drivers of non-commercial vehicles, the traffic and everyday matters can be their distractions. In either case, the 3rd party blind spot monitoring system tracks spots, that you can’t.
Reaction time is vital when it comes to avoiding any dangerous situation on road. The blind spot detection system provides you this leverage because the blind spot sensors can identify vehicles from a certain range. The visual and audio signals pull the attention of the driver towards the blind spots of the vehicle. As a result, they make decisions faster. For example, when changing the lane, the driver can get an alert related to the adjacent vehicles. This can prevent collisions and increase vehicle safety on road.
As road accidents are rising with time, the passengers may not feel safe on road. This is where a 3rd party blind spot monitor can give the passengers a surety allowing them to rely on technology and the driver. Especially if the passengers are riding on old models, then their safety may be of more concern to them than ever before. In such cases, these aftermarket blind spot monitors can be valuable.
Prevent Road Accidents
With the introduction of technology like blind spot detectors, there has been a decrease in the number of road accidents. Primarily, the blind spots were the main reason for the collision, and these blind spot monitors tackle the problem efficiently. Now, the driver can keep eye on the road, and they do not have to worry about craning their head to the side when turning their vehicle. Large vehicles have more benefits due to their huge blind spots around their vehicles.
Potential Drawbacks Of Using A 3rd Party Blind Spot Monitor
There are numerous benefits associated with blind spot monitors, but there are also some risks and drawbacks.
- Although the drawbacks vary from one vehicle to another, one of the most common drawbacks is the efficiency of the system at low speed. Usually, in the city areas, this can become a problem as this assistance technology cannot look after the blind spots of the vehicle at a lower speed.
- Sometimes it is impossible to see the visual warning. As the signal may get missed by the driver due to its small size or due to a bright environment such as at daytimes. But, to avoid this issue, vehicles now have large symbols attached to the windshield pillar or side mirrors. This way, drivers can easily get alert to the possible danger.
- The audio signals get turned on when the driver initiates a turn signal. It becomes a disadvantage when the driver forgets to turn the signals on. As the system does not get any signal about the driver’s intention, it will not provide audible alarm. Consequently, the driver will miss out on the opportunity of getting forewarned of the unseeable danger.
Is The 3rd Party Blind Spot Detection System Worth It?
Even after analyzing the benefits and other factors of the blind spot monitor, it can be possible that one cannot conclude the decision of buying it. It should be clear that a number of factors determine the worthiness of this system.
Most importantly, it depends on the size of the vehicle. The bigger the vehicle is in size, the more area it will be for the blind spots. This makes it risky for the driver and other vehicles on road. Therefore, depending on the size of the vehicle, you will have to decide whether the 3rd party blind spot monitor system is substantial or not.
Another factor is the visibility of the vehicle. Large vehicles usually have more windows and room to detect any danger. For example, some vehicles have more room for the driver to see the adjacent vehicle without moving their vision from the road. Still, as an extra safety precaution, a blind spot monitor kit can be really helpful if your vehicle does not have factory-installed detectors.
Lastly, the major reason for its worthiness is the safety it provides to the people or goods inside the vehicle. If you drive a car with kids inside, a blind spot monitor can ensure the safety of you and your family against dangerous road accidents. They not only look after the lives of your loved ones but also save you from huge expenses and medical bills.
As for commercial vehicles, they carry precious goods that cost thousands of dollars. To ensure its safety and other travelers’ well-being, blind spot monitoring systems carry huge significance. Spending a few hundred dollars can also shield you under the protection of your vehicle insurance, especially if you get involved in any road accident.
Cost Of The System
With time, the cost of this system is falling. The main reason for this is that many companies are now contributing to this industry. As a result, the consumers are enjoying the benefits of lower costs. Still, the cost is the major determinant of the compatibility of the system.
The most affordable blind spot systems are $250 or below. Although they lack complex functionalities, they are still dependable and cheaper options available in the market. The range of $250-$500 systems are mid-range options for consumers. Though they may not have been as efficient as the factory-installed monitors, they work perfectly for most models.
Lastly, the $500 plus systems are more costly but offer more accuracy and reliability than other systems. The sensors are specifically designed to prevent false triggers, as a result, the drivers can easily trust the system.
The 3rd party blind spot monitors are the most reliable options out there in the market for advanced driving assistance systems. What’s the best part? You can easily install the blind spot detection system on the old model vehicles without worrying about the model and variation. Many brands offer cheaper price options for people who want to try the technology out.
Comprehensively, it is advisable to never rely on the technology fully, as it is no substitute for the driver’s experience and skills. It is still mandated that drivers all the time follow the mantra “Eyes on Road” regardless of whether they are using a 3rd party blind spot monitor or a built-in model.