Make your car safer with these tech add-ons

Want to get new car safety technology without getting a new car? We show you how.

IRELAND’S CAR POPULATION could do with a check-up. According to Michael Rochford, CEO of

There are 2.1 million passenger vehicles on Irish roads today, of which 995,000 (47 percent) are 10 years old or more. The average age is just under nine years old.

Therefore, there are many cars on our roads that don’t have the latest safety technology that many newer cars boast.

But we are here to calm your FOMO with these new car technologies that you can retrofit to your own motor to make your car safer.

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Reversing cameras: These began creeping into mainstream European cars back in 2002. One of the first cars to feature them was the Nissan Primera. Rear view cameras are not just for safety but for convenience and better manoeuvrability, too.

And lucky for you don’t need to spend a lot to add one to an existing vehicle. Most motoring shops now sell and install reversing cameras that work with almost all cars. Installation is simple and you can even do it yourself.

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Parking sensors: These have been around since the 1990s but still aren’t standard on all cars, yet. These sensors alert drivers to obstacles and objects nearby on all sides of the car.

You can get your own parking sensors for the front, side and rear of your car and much like the reversing camera, they are easily fitted and again help improve safety and make manoeuvring easier.

Reversing cameras and parking sensors can save lives, prevent injuries and prevent damage to your car.

Connectivity: In the last decade connectivity tech in cars has exploded and nowadays having some sort of connectivity system in your vehicle not only helps you stay on the right side of the law regarding the use of mobile phones but it can also make driving less stressful.

MK2-16 MK2-16

You can buy multimedia / infotainment systems that allow wireless pairing with Bluetooth-enabled devices such as phones, iPods, GPS, tablets etc. This allows you to make and receive calls without ever having to touch the phone and can sync your contacts and last calls received and dialled.

You can also watch videos on the screen and listen to music and audiobooks from your devices through the car speakers. Incoming text messages can be read allowed and you can even dictate a reply via voice recognition features.

Axel Wierdemann Axel Wierdemann

These systems also have built-in navigation with high-quality visual guidance and if you connect them to the internet using your phone as a hotspot or via a WiFi dongle, you can get hundreds of online services, apps and live traffic and weather updates as well as many other features that make driving that bit more (ok, a lot more) enjoyable.

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Head-up display: HUDs first appeared in cars in the 80s but have slowly been seen in more and more cars in the last few years. HUDs project data and info on to the windscreen in the driver’s field of vision so the driver doesn’t have to look at displays and take their eyes off the road.

You too can project your speed, maps, traffic delays etc. right onto your windscreen by purchasing a portable HUD unit and hooking it up to your Bluetooth system.

Shutterstock / ambrozinio Shutterstock / ambrozinio / ambrozinio

Xenon headlights: Also known as High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights. These give off a crisp whitish-blue light that illuminates the road further ahead than standard headlights, thus improving visibility and safety. They also last a lot longer than standard bulbs, too.

If you car is compatable, you can retrofit Xenon headlights to your vehicle, however, Xenon headlights must have self-cleaning and self-levelling systems and these systems must all work in order for your vehicle to pass the NCT – ill-focused headlamps is one of the top five reasons for cars failing the NCT test.

So if you do want to get Xenon headlights make sure they are fitted correctly by someone who knows what they are doing. Also, you need to tell your insurance provider that you have modified your car as not telling them may invalidate your cover.

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High-silica rubber tyres: In the last decade high silica rubber has caused a revolution in the tyre industry. High-silica rubber tyres enhance grip, reduce fuel consumption and even come with 80,000-mile treadwear warranties.

This rubber has given us low rolling resistance tyres that grip in the rain and improve wet skid performance. You too can of course also add this technology to your car by fitting these tyres.

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Tyre pressure monitoring system: TPMS first appeared on cars in the 1980s, however, it wasn’t until the late ’90s that it first started to become standard on mainstream passenger cars and since 1 November 2014, all new vehicles sold must be fitted with a TPMS tyre pressure monitoring system. TPMS uses sensors on the tyre valves and warns of low and high tyre pressure, which can affect car handling and braking.

You can now buy tyre pressure valves that can be fitted to your car’s tyres and a TPMS programmer that you can configure yourself. Again, you can get these online and in most large car / motoring shops.

And there you have it; simple, easy and cheap (well, cheaper than buying a new car) ways of making your vehicle safer with some technology add-ons.

READ: Picking the right used car for you

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