Whether you’re inspired by safety, functionality, or aesthetics, there are endless ways to upgrade and alter your car. From LED light bars to lift kits, let’s take a look at five of the most popular car accessories and whether they’re helpful or harmful
1. LED light bars
LED light bars can be absolute life-savers when out in the wilderness. Off-road trips are all about traversing obstacles, but you need to see them to be successful! LED light bars can help you spot animals, people, other vehicles, uneven surfaces, and tricky terrain that could otherwise land you in trouble. The one caveat here is that LED light bars are not suitable for inner-city or highway driving. They can blind other drivers, so it’s important that you only use them for their intended purpose.
The humble cupholder is an undeniably helpful addition to any vehicle. They keep your drinks safe and unspilled, regardless of how many bumps and turns the road supplies. However, cupholders can actually be problematic, particularly for the driver.
The presence of a cupholder implies that it’s perfectly fine to have a beverage on-hand while you drive. However, the truth is, even when we exclude alcoholic beverages, drinking while you drive can be dangerous. The simple act of taking a sip is distracting, and then there’s the risk of spilling your beverage and becoming even more distracted. This risk compounds in the case of hot drinks like coffee.
You need to know where you’re going, but your GPS might be doing you more harm than good. Though it’s undeniably useful, your GPS can also be a massive distraction, especially if you’re not 100% clear on the best and safest way to use one. To ensure this accessory is always helpful and never harmful, it’s important that you take the time to set it up correctly in your vehicle and then educate yourself on the safe way to use a GPS.
4. Reverse parking cameras
Reverse parking cameras can be incredibly helpful, particularly in taller vehicles where you may not have the best view from your mirrors. However, it’s essential that you don’t just rely on what you’re seeing in the camera.
Reverse parking cameras must be used in conjunction with your mirrors and a general awareness of what’s around you. Keep in mind, the cameras have a limited field of vision, and the way they represent distance can be confusing for some drivers. The verdict here is that this is a great feature, so long as you use it to augment your usual safe driving practices, not replace them.
5. Lift kits
Your lifted truck may look cool, and you probably love the extra visibility it gives you. However, lift kits can be a dangerous addition to your ride. Even if you comply with the laws in your state, you have an even bigger set of laws to contend with – the laws of physics. You don’t have to be Einstein to understand that the more top-heavy something is, the more likely it is to flip.
Lifted vehicles are known to be at greater risk of flipping or rolling over. This isn’t the only danger either. If you happen to be involved in a collision, a lifted vehicle is more likely to plunge through another driver's window. As you can probably imagine, this can lead to far more severe injuries.
Though it’s undeniably fun to accessorize your car, it’s worth taking some time to research any upgrades you’re considering first. Stick to those that improve the safety of your vehicle, and use them only for the job they’re designed to perform.
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