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In Car Entertainment: Passengers Only!

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 30 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
In Car Entertainment Distracted Mp3

Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the amount of in-car entertainment devices that have become available for the motorist. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to have a DVD player fitted in the car, now on some vehicles it comes as standard - and for a few hundred pounds more, you can get a games console such as a Playstation 2 built in as well.

However, it's important to remember that as technology improves, the driver of the car still has the most important job to do - and that means that they must not give into temptation and start to get distracted by watching a TV screen in the rear-view mirror, or rummaging around with an MP3 player.

Car Radios - Old News?

It seems as though the days of cars with a simple radio or even radio/cassette player have long gone. Now a car doesn't seem to be a car unless it's got a super-duper stereo system, like the £2000 Linn hi-fi that comes along with the newest Aston Martin DB9.

In Car Music Systems - CD or MP3?

A few years ago, having a CD player in your car was rather impressive. Now it's perfectly possible to set up your car with a good CD/radio unit fitted for around £200, maybe a little bit more if you want to add some better speakers to the car too. For those of us with more sense than money, it's great news all round.

Of course, in recent years, the introduction of MP3 players has thrown a whole new arena of entertainment open for the motorist dedicated to music. You can download music onto your MP3 player and connect everything wirelessly so that you can play the music through your car stereo - with no fiddly cables or adapters.

Make sure though, that whatever system you go for, you can change CD's or songs quickly and safely. And don't have your music so loud that it distracts you, or frightens others who are driving close to you.

Satellite Navigation Systems

The next step on the gadget ladder is the Sat Nav system. These can range from as little as a piece of software purchased and downloaded onto a mobile phone or PDA - through to £250 portable units that can be moved from car to car, right up to the expensive versions that can pinpoint your route down to the colour of the tee-shirt that you're wearing while you're driving along. These are great if you want to get from A to B in the shortest time, and can save you a lot of hassle on the roads if you travel a lot, or like me, are just rubbish with directions.

Are We There Yet?

A DVD player built into a car?

There seems to be a growing market for parents who are so fed up of hearing 'Are we there yet' that they are willing to splash out a fortune on built in consoles, DVD players and headphones, to keep their little darlings quiet on long journeys. No longer the posh footballer or movie star's perk, these extras are now finding themselves onto more affordable family vehicles, for the average family to utilise and enjoy.

As a result there are many cars that now come with in-car TV's linked to screens that can fold down from the roof and/or are built into the back of the front seat headrests. These are usually fitted with a safety feature that disables them as soon as the car begins to move - as it is illegal to watch TV while driving.

However, lots of drivers are looking up codes on the Internet and are over-riding the system so that they can catch up with the news and watch soaps on the way home from work.

This is dangerous and illegal, and as such should not be attempted at any time.

DVD players and game consoles are great in-car accessories because they keep kids occupied on long drives. Do think about the console games children are allowed in the car, and make sure that the ones they travel with don't involve a lot of fast movements, or the driver could find themselves with a knee or an elbow in their back at an inopportune moment, which could turn out to be a recipe for disaster.

Most of the luxury car marques now have at least one model that includes these TV/DVD screens and they will become more inexpensive the more companies begin to include them.

This can only be a good thing because tired, bored and grumpy children (and other passengers!) can cause friction on a long drive, and can stress the driver out - making the journey far more treacherous than it needs to be.

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If it is illegal to watch DVD/TV while driving, can it also be illegal for a single police officer, in an unmarked car, to train his in-board camera on a driver using a mobile phone? Who is the more distracted, the person who is talking and watching the road or the person who is looking at a TV screen and operating the controls?
Ronald Etherington - 29-May-11 @ 9:12 AM
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