Distracted driving was a problem even before we all had smartphones buzzing in our pockets. But it’s an even bigger issue now, and one that Garmin wants to help solve with its new Drive line of sat navs that include improved driver awareness features alerting you to possible concerns on the road ahead.
That’s not to say you can take your eyes off the road completely. But Garmin’s new devices will keep you informed of hazards you may not have spotted yet, like upcoming curves in the road, railroad or animal crossings, red lights and speed cameras, traffic jams you’re quickly approaching, and even alerts if you’ve pulled onto a one-way street going the wrong direction.
Ranging in price from $130 to $150 and available sometime in the first quarter of 2016, the Drive line starts on the low end with the basic Garmin Drive that includes preloaded data for restaurants, stores, and other points of interest from Foursquare, as well as spoken navigation directions that guide users by referencing easy to spot landmarks like buildings or traffic lights.
The Garmin DriveSmart adds smartphone connectivity, so drivers can get call and text message notifications right on the navigator’s touchscreen, use it as a Bluetooth speakerphone to answer or place calls, and get real-time traffic and weather updates through a Garmin app that mooches data from their mobile device. Smart.
The Garmin DriveAssist adds a dash cam with a built-in DVR for recording incidents on the road. In the event of an accident, the sat nav will detect the impact and automatically save the footage leading up to the collision so you can use it as an infallible eyewitness. And when you arrive at your destination, a live video feed will pop up on-screen with arrows pointing at your exact destination.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Garmin DriveLuxe, which wraps the navigation device, and all of those aforementioned features, in a pricey forged metal housing so it won’t look out of place when mounted in a luxury vehicle with a high-end interior. Most luxury vehicles already come with a touchscreen satellite navigation system built right into the dashboard, but in terms of features few can compare to what Garmin has incorporated into its aftermarket solutions.