It's a fact: guys love gadgets. And today there are plenty of pretty cool car gadgets on the market that can make dad's life easier and safer on the open road. Whether commuting solo to work or taking the family on a road trip to grandma's house, these car gadgets can really come in handy.
The least expensive gadget here is also the one with the most day-to-day functionality and grand purpose - to keep you from backing over a bike, pet, or worse, a child playing in the driveway. Not only are many of today's vehicles larger, additional safety for the occupants inside often means reduced sight lines, especially to what's behind you.
Backup cameras offer a clear picture of what's behind you, taken from an ideal vantage point on the rear of the vehicle. These cameras are available on a wide variety of vehicles, from sedans and crossovers to minivans and SUVs. Bonus for the backup camera: dads will think it's cool because it's a slick gadget, but the added safety means moms will like it, too.
Rear Seat Entertainment
Once dads have experienced this gadget, they certainly won't be able to live without it. Yet they won't get to enjoy it in the typical sense. No, the audience for the rear seat entertainment system will be your young passengers.
When dad chooses an engaging selection for his crowd, they will become oddly quiet for half an hour, an hour or maybe more. An unspoken truce will be called regarding the long-disputed border down the center of the rear seat. (Until it's broken by arguing over what to watch.)
But some silence is better than none when it comes to long road trips. And the rear seat entertainment system will definitely offer the driver some comfort as his passengers settle in with their favorite movies on DVD.
Lane Departure Warning
When everyone else is asleep and there's nothing but the road ahead for a tired dad, a lane departure warning system may bring some peace of mind. These systems are designed to alert a drowsy or distracted driver that the vehicle has wandered out of the lane.
A small camera or laser sensor mounted on the vehicle can detect the vehicle's position in relation to the road lane markings and will send a warning either through beeping noises, a vibrating steering wheel or flashing LED lights on the dashboard.
For today's busy dads, these warnings may be the reminder you need to pull over to respond to that email or stop at the next rest area for a quick nap
If you grew up in a small town or suburbs, you probably rarely needed to use your parallel parking skills. So when it's necessary, it can be an ordeal squeezing your car into a tiny space-especially if you have traffic piling up behind you and whiney youngsters in the back.
Imagine, then, relieving the stress of having to parallel park with the push of a button. Self-parking cars use the power steering system to maneuver the car into the space. All you have to do is manage the brake pedal.
Many manufacturers are offering this gadget, and Toyota's system will even back into a typical parking space. We're still waiting for cars to fly, but in the meantime this is still pretty cool.
Adaptive Cruise Control
During summer and holidays many families hit the road, and the person in the driver's seat is most often dad. When you're on the road for hours on end, a special gadget like adaptive cruise control can really take the pressure off.
Adaptive cruise control automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed to maintain an appropriate distance from the vehicles ahead. So if a vehicle in front of you slows down, the system sends a signal to the engine or braking system to decelerate, and will re-accelerate back to the set cruise control speed once the road is clear.
If you've got a lead foot, wise use of this gadget could help you slow down. Or if your foot is just plain tired, adaptive cruise control means relief.
With today's portable smart phones, tablets and MP3 players, there are already plenty of high-tech gadgets to keep everyone in the car entertained. That's why most of our favorite cool car features are safety enhancements that ensure a seamless driving experience as well as enable dad to drive safely and worry less about being on the road. While some of these upgrades are expensive, if you spend a lot of time behind the wheel you just might find that they're totally worth it.