I’ve got a condition called Big Old Pickup Syndrome (BOPS*). It’s more of a annoyance than anything else, but it can also be expensive when it really flares up, and it has several times, so I went looking for a solution.
Big Old Pickup Syndrome has the following symptoms: The afflicted driver pilots a large, crew cab, long-bed pickup that’s about a mile long and has a few years on it, so it’s old enough that it doesn’t have much tech in it, especially one of those very handy backup video monitors, which can go a long way to mitigating BOPS. Therefore, the driver often BOPS into things while in reverse, such as fences, mailboxes, phone poles, other vehicles or the occasional phone-addled pedestrian. Many of you know what I’m talking about, especially if your truck has a bed cap, canopy, camper, bed full of bald tires or some other thing that obscures your rearward view.
After I recently gave a shiny Jeep a new personality mark, I decided to take action to cure my long-running case of BOPS by installing a rear camera and viewing device, in this case an Aukey DRA3 Rear View Mirror Dash Cam system that fits over my existing and largely useless rear view mirror. The DRA3 installs quickly with some simple straps (your stock mirror stays in place), but I did have to run some wires for power and the rear the back-up camera lead through the cab, which is time consuming but easier than you’d think. The rear camera includes a 23-foot long cable.
The Aukey DRA3 gives me both a video view out the back end of my beloved pickup while reversing as well as capturing on HD video both front and back anyone suffering from IDS*, or Idiot Driver Syndrome, which seems to be prevalent these days. The 9.66-inch wide screen/mirror mirror also acts as a touchscreen to watch recorded videos or change settings, and it responds quickly to taps and setup. You can view just the front camera, just the backup camera or a split screen – or the screen can be off. The playback looks great on the large, wide screen, and on my computer. It can also record audio, or can be used as a bluetooth hands-free device with your smartyphone. An internal 500mAh rechargeable battery allows the DRA3 to jump into action if your vehicle is accosted while parked. It’s very versatile. To play back video, simply use the touch screen or just pop out the micro-SD card to quickly transfer videos to your computer in case you need to preserve the moment or join in the fun on YouTube.
A neat trick of the Aukey system is that during the day, the system can be displaying video but it still functions as a rear view mirror as well without having to turn off the video display. This is due to the type of screen they use, and if you’re familiar with how a two-way mirror or a pellicle camera mirror works, well, suffice to say you can leave the system on and still use the “mirror” like a regular rear-view mirror. Trust me, your brain knows how to “see” this automatically. At night, a simple tap of a well-placed button on the bottom of the mirror turns off the video display if you want to use the mirror in regular analog “rear view mirror” mode, but it continues to record video. Well played, Aukey.
The DRA3 records HD video simultaneously from both the front and rear cameras, which the user can adjust to fine-tune their viewpoint. The “rear-view mirror” part of the system is exactly that, a mirror, which also works as a video monitor. Properly set up, it automatically shows a rear view from the included backup camera when my big old pickup is in reverse. Yes, setting up and wiring in the system takes a bit of effort (and a few common tools) but it’s very much worth it. For just about $100, it’s quite an upgrade and has completely cured my long-running case of BOPS, as the wide-angle rearward view from the weather-proof license-plate mounted camera includes those handy close-closer-TOO CLOSE guidelines laid over the video. My neighbor’s third new mailbox is now close to a record lifespan; celebrations may be in order.
So if you’re suffering from BOPS or IDS, I highly recommend the Aukey DRA3 rearview mirror dash cam system with the rear-mounted camera. Your stress from BOPS while in reverse will vanish and your insurance company will thank you. Maybe repeatedly.
*BOPS and IDS are not real medical terms and are used here for humor.