Will i get used to reversing with backup camera?
August 2, 2020 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about buying a new car. It seems like all cars now have pretty poor visibility out the back window and expect you to use the backup camera to navigate in reverse. When I have driven a car with a backup camera I found it extremely disconcerting—I couldn't mentally map what I was looking at with how I should turn/adjust. Is this something that you get used to over time? Or should I push to find a car with decent visibility through the back window?
posted by radioamy to Shopping (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My answer would be yes to both of your questions.the camera makes it easier in certain situations to back up but I always still check directly.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:55 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]

Try one of the cars that show you lines on the camera which indicate where you will end up if you press the accelerator. I find those easier to use than the ones which don't have that feature.
posted by thatone at 5:00 PM on August 2 [13 favorites]

I had a rental for a couple of weeks that had a back up camera and it took me about a week to get used to it. Like you, I found it very disconcerting at first.
posted by mareli at 5:01 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]

Fwiw I found that I did get used to the camera. That said, some cars still have decent rear greenhouses; the Forester, for one.

Also, there is a large variability in the quality of cameras and screens.
posted by selfnoise at 5:02 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]

Is this something that you get used to over time?

Yes. It took me a few months - my husband, a few months longer - to get used to it. The camera proved to me that I actually have a lot more space to back up than I ever thought I did. I'm not yet to the point that I'll rely on the camera when parallel parking, but I'm sure I'd get used to that as well if I did much parallel parking.
posted by DrGail at 5:14 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]

Yes you will get used to it. And come to heavily favor backup cams, if my experience is anything to go by. I found it weird and hard to deal with at first but now I feel really blind trying to backup in our car that doesn’t have a camera.
posted by JenMarie at 5:20 PM on August 2 [9 favorites]

I still look about half the time, depending on the ambient light. My car has a radar in the back as well with an alert and I like the combination of the two.
posted by Candleman at 5:22 PM on August 2

You get used to it so quickly that driving without one becomes distressing in short order.
posted by mhoye at 5:23 PM on August 2 [13 favorites]

Many popular SUVs & compact SUVs have compromised rear vision and shoulder-checking. A generic sedan is usually better for rear vision in general. Just don't look at the rear camera unless you need it, then it comes in handy.
posted by ovvl at 5:27 PM on August 2

I know some back-up cameras have on-screen indicators that point in the direction you'll go based on the steering-wheel position; the system in Honda's cars has this I believe this but there may be others as well. I have one without this and I've gotten quite used to it. I'll do a glance around the car and over the shoulder, but I have a lot more visibility through the camera so I tend to rely on it most of the time.
posted by Aleyn at 5:42 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]

I've had my car with a rear view camera for about 7 years and I still haven't fully gotten used to using it. I like it for short distance backing, where I just want to make sure I don't hit the car parked behind mine, or that there isn't anything in my path as I back out of my parking spot. But if I'm backing a longer distance down a road or driveway I feel like I need to look out at the real world while I'm doing it. (And if I'm backing out of a parking spot, I look over my shoulder in addition to using the camera.)

Another thing to keep in mind about rear view cameras is that in the winter, at least where I live, they get coated with road salt and constantly have to be cleaned if you actually want to be able to use them.
posted by Redstart at 5:44 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]

Backup cameras are great. That being said, I always look over my shoulder before reversing for a wider angle of view. The cameras are a blessing for parallel parking!
posted by gingerjules at 5:45 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]

We've got a car with a camera with the guidelines mentioned above. My husband and I were real skeptical at first, but we actually just used it to get out of a tricky parking spot the other day- we had gotten boxed in, and we would've definitely had to do a one of those person gets out and directs deal if we didn't have it. We jointly decided that yeah, it's handy.
posted by damayanti at 5:48 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]

You’ll definitely get used to it, and after a while, when you parallel park, you’ll feel slightly irritated that it took so long to install them as standard on cars in the first place.

Has Serious Spatial Relations Problems and LOVES the Backup Camera
posted by holborne at 5:56 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]

I recently purchased a Toyota Camry which has both a backup camera and a "birds-eye view" camera. (The latter is actually an all-around view of the car stitched together by cameras at the front, rear and sides. It's astonishingly realistic.) I have learned to check the windows, backup camera and birds-eye view before backing out. With a little practice, I've developed confidence in it. I would not, under any circumstances, consider backing out with just the view from the camera alone.
posted by SPrintF at 6:27 PM on August 2

My mom has had hers for 2 years and still hates it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:48 PM on August 2

You should still be looking around and using your mirrors when backing up, not exclusively relying on the camera.

Some vehicles don't have rear windows at all, and these types of vehicles were made long before backup cameras became available. You aren't meant to use only the camera, it's just an assist.

The backup cameras are very useful when trying to back very close to something, but they can't show you what's approaching from the side, or what will be behind the car after you turn.
posted by yohko at 7:52 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]

I find it easier to devote most of my attention to the side and rear view mirrors and use the backup camera as just an additional input to see if I'm missing anything directly behind or to determine exactly how much clearance I have. But mainly the mirrors. I like that better than trying to play first-person video games with my car.
posted by JackFlash at 8:11 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]

I had similar reservations and held out for a 360°/bird's-eye view setup, and it is marvelous. I can even switch it to show an individual camera to check exactly where the back tire is relative curb markings, for example, and I do in fact back the majority of the way out of my driveway on the strength of the cameras alone, and only use the windows to check up/down the sidewalk and street. It can also be switched on in Drive at low speeds, so is useful for parking in tight spots.
posted by teremala at 8:36 PM on August 2

Kia with camera, guidelines and beeping - I was very sceptical at first, took me a month to get used to it. Decent rear view mirror replacement at parking speeds, side mirrors still used. The radar is rubbish in nature though, all leaves and uneven ground gets treated as OMG Stop.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:34 AM on August 3

Many people have mentioned guide lines - here is a visual example of what they're talking about -Ford Ranger reverse camera guide lines. They show you exactly how your car will reverse with your current steering wheel position - you steer using those white lines and you car will be placed exactly into that position.
posted by xdvesper at 2:28 AM on August 3

I have a 2020 Honda civic, which has a decent rearview. All car manuals will remind you do not rely on the camera view, do visually check. Before I was driving a car with no camera at all or even a front dash screen. I'm not nearly as good at parallel parking this car as my previous car, but the camera isn't nearly as annoying as I thought it was going to be. I still definately look back and line of sight it, but sometimes the on screen guides are really useful. It's not quite accurate enough for my tastes and tight Chicago parking but it is useful. Especially as I was getting use to a car that was significantly bigger from my last one! I wouldn't stress it. It does become normal feeling after a awhile.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:32 AM on August 3

A friend's car has multiple cameras, and it stitches the camera feeds together to simulate an "eye in the sky" view as if from above the car. That seems much easier to get to grips with than a camera view directly out the back.

I rent cars with reversing cameras sometimes, and it certainly makes me very conscious of the toddler sized blind spot behind my own (pretty good visibility) car that has no camera.
posted by quacks like a duck at 4:42 AM on August 3

A friend's car has multiple cameras, and it stitches the camera feeds together to simulate an "eye in the sky" view as if from above the car.

Yes! I had a hire car with this feature and it was fantastic. The screen just looked like a 2D driving game. I have never experienced parking (every kind of parking - not just reverse) as such a pleasurable activity.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:39 AM on August 3

My answer would be yes to both of your questions.the camera makes it easier in certain situations to back up but I always still check directly.

This. My last two vehicles (and plenty of rentals) have had backup cameras. Those are helpful and I always look at them (especially for things like trying to line up a trailer hitch), but I rely more on looking over my shoulder out the back. Having a car that doesn't have huge blindspots out the back is something I value; some of the rentals I get are absolutely horrible for that and you could easily back over a child or a fire hydrant without ever seeing it. Like people have said, winter ice, dust, and other stuff will mess up the camera view, so you can't always count on it working well.

I've never driven a car with the 360-degree cameras or radar, but those look like they would be great for weird parking situations.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:48 AM on August 3

I have back up cameras with the bird's eye view. I use the cameras mostly to make sure I'm not parked like a jerk. (Bird's eye for the win.) I'll glance over my shoulders before starting to back out and then use my mirrors the rest of the way. When i first got my SUV, I nearly had an accident due to the massive blind spot, so I googled something to the affect of "getting rid of the blind spot" and adjusted my mirrors accordingly. It's great while driving, but it's excellent for backing out.
posted by BlueBear at 8:29 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]

You'll get used to it.

Recent Subaru Crosstreks (and other models, I presume) have the camera software that shows lines on the screen indicating where your car will go in reverse based on where the wheels are pointed. As others have said, I learned that I have more room for reversing around my wife's car and out of my driveway than I thought I did. Our driveway entrance is along a busy-ish street, too, and the wide angle of the camera lens allows me to see oncoming traffic much sooner than I would be able to with my own eyes.
posted by emelenjr at 5:31 PM on August 3

You'll get used to it, but you have to figure out how you're most comfortable using it, which will take a little time. I love mine (2009 Prius), though I don't depend on it exclusively, thanks to my paranoia about backing into something. Since it's essentially a fisheye lens, it helps a great deal when backing out from between vehicles that are longer than my car, I can see cars coming via the camera long before I can see them through a mirror or window.
posted by lhauser at 6:17 PM on August 3

for sure! i mean, don't ever rely on that alone, but it has been a little miracle for me!
posted by megan_magnolia at 9:50 AM on August 4

« Older What's up with the techs getting right up to the...   |   If a revolution killed the rich at COVID rates... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments