February 7, 2006--Posted at 10:00 a.m. CST
Jonesboro, AR -- Have you ever ran out the door and said, "kids get in the car, we're late!" and put your vehicle in reverse? You probably only checked your rearview mirror for a second.
Last year over 200 children were killed by back-over accidents, which averages out to 3 children per week. The problem...rear blind spots. The solution...awareness.
We tested everyday vehicles and the drivers said they didn't see anything behind them, before they backed-up. Our testing consisted of a van, a suburban, a towncar, a Lincoln Navigator, and a Jeep Commander. You'll be amazed at the findings.
Two local dealers agreed to help us with the testing, Cavenaugh Lincoln and Fletcher Dodge. Both companies offer rear back-up sensors on their newer vehicles, which is a step in the right direction for car companies.
We used a 3ft. cone behind each behind each vehicle to test it's blindspot and the driver's reaction time. The Navigator's blindspot was 49 ft. It's a larger Sports Utility Vehicle and the rear sensors come as a standard.
The Jeep Commander first tested with a blind spot of 28 ft., which is good for a larger SUV. But that was before the third row seating was up. Then it was a whopping 64 ft. A salesman told us Jeep doesn't intend for the third row seating to be used all the time, so that's why the vehicle comes standard with the rear sensors.
But the Jeep Commander had something extra. As you backed up, if something was behind you, it started to beep. But unlike the Navigator, it had a visual warning, a light bar, seen in the rear view mirror.
But rear sensors may not be enough. The sensors didn't detect things lower than the bumper, like our scooter laying down. Children crossing behind a vehicle are hard to see, but a child sitting behind the vehicle is even harder to see. Some dealers sell vehicles with safety cameras as an option. But these are usually the more expensive vehicles and out of most of our price ranges. We found a place that can install a camera system after the purchase, Audio Express.