A major topic among rearview camera reviews is whether these units actually aid in increasing safety when backing up. While they don t eliminate the need for using your rearview mirror and checking your blind spots, cameras with the right features can actually help greatly with your ability to back up smoothly and avoid accidentally hitting items or people.

When to Use a Rearview Camera
Whenever you engage the transmission of your vehicle for reverse, you would benefit greatly from a backup camera. As any backup camera reviews will indicate, these tiny devices are largely beneficial when you re leaving your driveway, backing into a parking stall, backing up to a trailer hitch or even parallel parking. It effectively gives you a second set of eyes right on your car bumper so that you can avoid accidental and costly bumps that might damage your vehicle or other people's vehicles.

Safety Features of Car Backup Cameras
At its most basic level, a backup camera gives you greater visibility as to what is going on behind your vehicle. However, numerous features exist that increase the usability of the device and the safety with which you back up.

  • Automatic system switching: The best rearview camera is one that is designed to automatically turn on when a vehicle s transmission is placed in reverse. This is accomplished by connecting a single wire to the vehicle s backup light circuit, which sends a signal to the rearview camera system and turns it on without any action by the operator.
  • Mirror image capability: This is an incredibly important feature, as it can impact how you react to what is occurring behind your vehicle. The image collected by the rearview camera and the one displayed on your monitor need to be mirrored or it reverses the images from left to right. This creates the same effect as if you were looking in the rearview window, meaning if a pedestrian was approaching from the left of the car, the monitor would show it from the appropriate side. Without mirroring in place, what the camera sees and the monitor displays are opposites and cause you to react incorrectly.
  • Wide-angle field of view: Cameras with large image sensors are able to display a wide field of view, meaning you can better see to the sides behind your car. Anything less than a 90-degree field of view is a recipe for failure; instead, the best field of view is 120 degrees.
  • Weather resistance: The camera is mounted on the exterior of your vehicle, which means it ll be subject to more than just water. It will have to endure all the elements, from water to snow to ice to oil to dust. The camera, cables and connectors are all subjected to this and should be able to withstand these elements.
  • Infrared night vision: This is one of the most important safety features a reverse camera can have. When properly equipped with infrared night vision, it allows you to retain visibility in even the lowest of lighting conditions. Without this feature, a rearview camera is simply unable to gather light and show what might be occurring behind your vehicle.
  • Audio monitoring: This can prove to be an invaluable safety feature, especially when you need the assistance of a helper when backing up. While helpful, this isn t a common feature because it has the potential for letting in outside elements through the speaker that can damage and short the camera.

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