Best Blind Spot Detection Systems: Get a Little Help Watching the Road
Stay safe with a little extra help from these top sensor kits.
All vehicle mirrors, including older ones, are essential driving aids. Their purpose is to depict items, people, places behind, around, and adjacent to vehicles. Modern-day cars are much more high-tech, making even further alterations to improve vehicle safety and technology features. Automotive makers use new technological developments to offer preventative safety tools for drivers to keep passengers safe. Yet, not all vehicles, especially older ones, come with the latest technology. Some car owners need to determine and install newer systems that are right for their vehicle.
Drivers can use systems like the blind spot detection system to notify them of any potential hazards that may exist outside their eye view. Many items and people can be undetectable or invisible to those in the driver's seat, especially in certain areas. Dealing with a blind spot(s) is a significant issue most struggle with regularly. To boost traveling safety and the driving experience, you need to know which blind spot monitoring system is the best one for you, and we've narrowed down some of the top picks available on the market.
Why Buy a Blind Spot Detection System
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- Increase your driving awareness. A single pair of eyes can only look at so many things at once. When you have a lot of different things going on around your vehicle, it helps to have as much extra coverage for your senses as possible. A blind spot monitoring system does just this by consistently viewing the spots you can't always track while driving.
- Increase response time. Reaction time can be the difference between life and death. In order to respond to something, you need to actually notice it in the first place. Blind spot sensors tend to be more effective than mirrors alone since they give an active notification of something that is nearby or in the blind spot itself. With mirrors, you still have to see the reflection in order to react accordingly.
- Make passengers feel safer. Few people will argue with the opportunity to ride in a car that increases safety however possible. With a blind spot monitoring system, you can give passengers some extra piece of mind when riding in an older vehicle. Better still, the basic indicators notify everyone in the vehicle, so extra passengers can help you notice important things in tandem with the sensors.
- Help drivers of larger vehicles. Blind spot detectors help drivers of big vehicles as your blind spots are larger-than-usual. Whether on highways or city streets, you can decrease your stress levels with the ability to monitor large, unseen areas surrounding your big vehicle.
- Prevents car crashes. Along with monitoring the areas around your vehicle, blind detection systems can keep you from running into another car, preventing collisions with other vehicles that are moving in the same direction or an adjoining lane.
Types of Blind Spot Detection Systems
The most common type of blind spot monitoring system is the one automotive manufacturers offer as standard or as an upgrade feature at certain trim levels. While more and more manufacturers are starting to offer these systems free-of-charge, most continue to reserve them for more expensive vehicles. As a result, they tend to be custom-tailored for the specific model, making few (if any) compatible with older vehicles.
Aftermarket blind spot monitoring kits make up a small market, but it continues to grow as more startups and major automotive accessory companies begin to offer custom-designed kits for a variety of cars. Many of these kits are meant to be near-universal in application, meaning you don't have to worry about the make, model, and age of your vehicle quite as much. With that said, accuracy tends to be less than factory-installed kits, but this varies between different options.
Top Brands of Blind Spot Detection Systems
In a space that lacks recognizable brand names, outside automotive manufacturers, making in-car blind spot monitoring systems, Brandmotion has started to emerge as the niche leader. Formed in 2005, the company makes a range of 12-volt devices that enhance the driving experience of older vehicles lacking modern-day safety and convenience touches. The Brandmotion Radar Blind Spot System is the company's primary blind spot monitoring system.
Blind Spot Detection System Pricing
- Under $250: Budget blind spot monitoring systems tend to be limited in functionality and accuracy. Most come with a couple of sensors and basic indicators.
- $250-$500: The midrange of blind spot monitoring systems increases the accuracy of the included sensors, but most still fail to match the performance of OEM systems found on most modern cars.
- $500 and up: For the most reliability and accuracy, this is the range you will need to consider. Here, sensor accuracy is high, and the internal controls tend to use advanced algorithms to reduce false triggers as much as possible.
Sensors are the eyes of any blind spot monitoring system. Using different technologies like radar, sonar, and lidar, a sensor can "sense" the environment in front. Generally, a blind spot system will use two or more sensors to cover different sides of the vehicle. When something enters into the "view" of the sensor at or above a specific speed, the sensor will trigger the indicator.
Notification is important for any blind spot monitor system; otherwise, you would have no way of knowing when a sensor is tripped. Indicators come in many forms, but most aftermarket kits use a combination of visual LED lights and an audible alarm to notify you. Many systems will also give you some control over the notifications, like the volume level of the alarm.
- Accuracy. One thing that varies somewhat with different systems is the accuracy of the sensors. Essentially, accuracy for blind spot detection is how well the sensors can ignore false triggers (things that don't present a danger) without ignoring anything that needs to be noticed. High-quality sensors tend to offer better accuracy, but keeping false trigger rates down also requires an advanced controller programmed to differentiate positive and false triggers as much as possible.
- Installation. To use a blind spot monitoring system, assuming your car doesn't come with one, will require installation. Professional installation tends to be the easiest route if you want good results, but many kits to make it somewhat easy to install the individual components yourself. In these cases, separate parts like the sensors and indicators will need to be mounted, usually using a drill and some fasteners.
Best Blind Spot Detection Systems Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Best OverallBrandmotion Radar Blind Spot System
This system works like an original equipment-based system and works closer to the ones found on modern vehicles than most other systems available today. The radar-based system works with any vehicle with plastic fascias and offers a true OEM-like fit, finish, and performance. Brandmotion is the first aftermarket solution to include cross-traffic detection while eliminating 95 percent of false triggers, which is common in other systems. This Brandmotion System uses a CAN-wire connection, which will only activate when the vehicle speed is greater than 15 miles per hour.
Drivers will receive notifications via an audible tone and visual warning lights. The detection range is approximately 40 feet behind the vehicle. The built-in rear cross-traffic alert can sense when vehicles are approaching your car from the sides. The kit also comes with a few extra accessories to make installation easier, like foam wraps.
The Accele Automotive Blind Spot Sensor BSS200 Detection System is a good starter package to add basic detection capabilities to your vehicle. Coming with a left and right bumper sensor, this system offers some versatility with the placement and looks of the sensors as well. With a paintable surface, each sensor can be installed and painted to match the bumper to remain out of sight if desired. Installation includes mounting the sensors, control box, LED indicators, and speaker, then connecting everything with a five-wire installation harness (with an extension harness if necessary). A hole saw is included for the mounting process as well. Installation can take around four or five hours when done alone. Giving both an audible and visual cue when traffic is detected, the system is rather inconspicuous when not in use.
Honorable MentionBoyo Blind Spot Detection System
The Boyo VTBSD1 Blind Spot Detection System's width of 9.8 inches from the vehicle and is 49.2 inches in length behind the car. Boyo is a microwave radar blind spot detection system that warns you of any obstacles and other cars in the blind spots. The system is extremely helpful when changing lanes and other maneuvers. It comes with two radar sensors and two LED indicator lights. The Blind Spot Detection System has an audible alert, and its sensors are installed inside the bumper, so it doesn't require drilling.
With the BOYO VTBSD1 Blind Spot Detection System, you get to keep your vehicle in good condition while adding a system that helps you spot the people and objects you cannot see.
This blind spot detection system is designed for cargo vans and buses and includes four cameras (front, rear, and two sides), a control module, and a two-button control pad. You can connect it to any composite RCA display. The cameras are high resolution and provide a bird's eye view of the area surrounding your vehicle.
It's easy to maneuver into tight and crowded spaces with the Universal 360 Vision System. If you prefer, you can toggle the unit to see just one camera view at a time. You can also paint the housings if you want them to fit in seamlessly with the look of your vehicle. The system also comes with a three-year warranty, which is helpful if the unit fails prematurely.
One downside with this device is to achieve the best results, you need to purchase a compatible Brandmotion 7-inch monitor separately. Since the system is a little on the pricey side already, this will increase the cost even more.
Honorable MentionCarBest Radar Based Blind Spot Sensor
The CarBest Radar Based Blind Spot Sensor includes another outstanding feature, Rear Cross Traffic. CarBest is a 24 Gigahertz Microwave Radar Blind Spot Detection System with strong anti-interference capability and long-distance detection. The system can detect any object in the blind areas behind the vehicle, up to 12 meters.
It has an intelligent algorithm that accurately judges whether the object is dangerous to alert you. When the object is moving, getting closer, and speeding up to your car, CarBest will spot it. The operation voltage of the system is 9-24 volts, and once set up, it is an excellent spot sensor and rear cross-traffic system.
Honorable MentionCUB Trailer Blind Spot Detection System
The CUB Trailer Blind Spot Detection System is designed for use on travel trailers, fifth wheels, cargo trailers, and trailers up to 40 feet long. It helps drivers monitor the rear corner of the trailer while they're towing it and notifies the driver of vehicles and obstructions in the blind spot.
The kit is easy to install and comes with everything you need to set it up on your trailer and tow vehicle. It's compatible with almost all trailers and features a built-in reflector for extra safety. The device withstands sun exposure and will not break if it is power-washed. The company also provides replacement parts if any components are damaged.
- You may have to play around with the placement of sensors before making holes in your car. Try some tape or Velcro to see what works during installation.
- Make sure you mount the LED indicators somewhere you can see them without averting your eyes from the road. Many kits will have recommendations or instructions on proper indication placement.
- Read the instructions carefully if you choose to install a blind spot monitoring kit yourself. Many kits require permanent alterations of the vehicle like drilling, so mistakes can be costly.
Q. How does blind spot monitoring work?
A sensor projects a beam (light, radio, etc.) that bounces back when reflecting off of the surface of another vehicle. Based on the timing of the returning beam, the system can detect the object and alert the driver.
Q. Is blind spot monitoring required for new vehicles?
It's not legally required, but many manufacturers offer some kind of blind spot monitoring system as a standard or upgrade feature.
Q. Is blind spot monitoring reliable?
It depends on the system since false trigger rates vary. Even the most reliable systems, however, are no substitute for using your mirrors, checking your own blind spots, and other safe driving habits.
When it comes to getting a blind spot monitoring system that nearly rivals factory-made options, the Brandmotion Radar Blind Spot System is your best bet. If you are looking for a budget system, the Accele Automotive Blind Spot Sensor Detection System is a great solution for the price.