Are reverse cameras worth it?

Make parking a breeze and improve safety when reversing.

Many cars have limited rear visibility, so installing a reversing camera makes a lot of sense – the cameras improve visibility, make parking manoeuvres easier and can prevent accidents.
 
While the addition of a camera does not mean drivers can stop looking in their mirrors, the extra vision they provide can alert them to potential risks in their blind spots.

Should I get a reversing camera?

Many cars are fitted with reversing cameras as standard equipment. The cameras provide a visual image of the area directly behind the vehicle and assist with eliminating potential blind spots.
 
Reversing cameras are recommended for most vehicles, as accidents caused by reversing are common and even a minor bump can lead to a hefty repair bill or a tragic outcome. In Australia, a child is run over by a vehicle in a driveway each week.

How do reversing cameras operate?

Reversing cameras consist of two main parts – a camera attached to the rear of the vehicle and a monitor for viewing.
 
When reverse gear is selected, the camera system is activated to enable the driver to see what is behind the vehicle.

Types of reversing cameras

There are a range of reversing cameras available with options for both DIY kits and professionally installed systems.

Wireless reverse camera kits:

Popular with DIY enthusiasts, these units are simple to install. Unfortunately, as the unit runs on wireless signals, the image quality can be reduced and affected by signal dropouts.

Rear view mirror systems:

This system replaces the rear-view mirror with one that has an integrated screen to show vision from the camera. Some users may find the small size of the screen difficult to use.

Mountable screen systems:

Usually mounted on the dash or sun visor, these systems are popular with motorists who prefer larger screen sizes. Be careful when choosing and installing this type of unit as it can be difficult to find a suitable mounting location and the size of the screen could impede the driver’s vision or access to vehicle controls.

Integrated units:

Factory installed systems are usually incorporated into the entertainment or navigation system, with the screen mounted in the dash or console. Some original equipment systems that don’t have a reversing camera have provision for one, but if they don’t, there are options for replacing the entire system with one that has the latest features, including a reversing camera. Professional installation is usually required.

Other options:

Reversing Sensors:

Reversing sensors are fitted to the rear of the car to alert the driver to objects in its path and often provide different warning tones to indicate the distance to an object to aid with parking.
 
RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning said reversing sensors were a common feature of newer cars and, like reversing cameras, were readily available from aftermarket suppliers.
 
“A combination of a reversing camera and sensors will provide the best outcome,” Mr Manning said.

Reverse warning alerts

Reverse warning systems provide an audible warning to alert pedestrians that the vehicle is reversing. They are a common accessory in commercial vehicles and can be easily fitted to the average car. Be aware that younger children may not understand the meaning of the warning.
 
Want to buy a reverse camera? RACQ members can save 5% at Repco.