Innovative gifts make driving fun, safe

-- by (ARA)

Let’s face it -- Americans spend a lot of time in their cars -- commuting to work, carpooling to school and sporting events, family trips. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives about 10,100 miles a year. Why not make that road time more pleasant and convenient?

AutoSport helps motorists put the fun back into driving with a wide variety of unique gifts and gadgets that make great gifts for the drivers on your holiday shopping list -- while you’re at it, don’t you deserve a reward for getting your shopping done early? And just in case you procrastinate, it’s nice to know you can take advantage of same-day shipping and gift wrapping on many items.

Keep Your Coffee Hot

Does someone you know always take a cup of coffee for the road? An insulated travel mug only goes so far in keeping beverages hot. Coffee and tea drinkers will appreciate this 16-ounce heated smart mug. Just plug it into the car’s cigarette lighter and it will keep beverages at exactly the temperature specified -- between 85 F and 160 F. An audible alert lets the driver know when the drink reaches the desired temperature. The mug fits into standard car drink holders and the dishwasher-safe lining is removable for washing.

This Won’t Stay in the Car for Long

The MiniTemp Infrared Thermometer instantly checks the surface temperature of anything and everything in sight -- bath water, the refrigerator, fish tank, wine cellar, and of course, a car’s climate control, brake temperature and coolant system. Racecar drivers use them to check tire temperatures after a run. “We finally had to hide our photo sample; everyone in the office kept borrowing it,” says AutoSport’s Mark Lee.

Simply point the thermometer at the target, using the laser aiming beam as a guide, squeeze the trigger and an instant reading, based on infra-red emissions, and appears on the backlit display. The thermometer measures temperatures ranging from 0 F to 525 F with an accuracy of plus or minus 2 percent.

Tire Pressure Will Never Be the Same

Proper tire pressure is an important safety factor. But checking the pressure can be tedious and inaccurate with standard gauges. Making sure tires are inflated to manufacturer’s specifications is quick, easy and even enjoyable with AutoSport’s talking digital tire gauge.

Simply attach the gauge to the valve stem of the tire and press the button; when you remove the gauge, a pleasant female voice gives you the reading. No more squinting to see a dial or numbers. This gauge is perfect for low-light situations and will measure any tire up to 100 psi. A standard 3-volt battery (included) provides power for hundreds of measurements.

Dead Battery? Problem Solved

Anyone who’s ever left their lights on and come back to find a dead battery will want to get their hands on this portable jump starter. “Jumper cables don’t do much good if you’re stranded alone in a parking lot,” says Lee.

The Car Start 1000 will get stranded motorists back on the road in seconds. The jump starter charges at home and stays operational in a car trunk for up to three months. A single charge delivers 250 amps and yields five to six starts. The heavy-duty 27-inch cables and built-in flashlight make it easy to use, even in the dark. It is a compact 3 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches and it weighs in at just 8 1/2 pounds.

Take the Guesswork Out of Parking

Parking larger vehicles like SUVs and vans can be tricky -- and expensive, if the driver misjudges. Park Zone uses sophisticated ultrasonic technology to take the hassle out of parking. The sensor unit monitors the vehicle’s approach and the display unit, mounted higher for easy visibility, lets the driver know how close they are to their pre-set parking zone by changing from green to yellow and finally red. It is easy to install, using only a screwdriver. It runs on 4 AA batteries or an AC adapter.

The Newest Personal Digital Assistant Offers Satellite Navigation, Too!

Garmin’s new iQue 3600 Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) does everything you’d expect from a PDA and much more. Garmin, the GPS experts, teamed with PDA leader Palm to create a handheld device barely bigger than a deck of cards that can download and store maps and then give verbal navigation directions. It acts as a voice recorder and an MP3 player and runs Palm OS-compatible software.

Get even more mileage from the iQue 3600 with the optional accessories: the auto navigation kit includes a portable friction mount, with speaker/microphone and cigarette lighter adapter; the travel kit has an A/C travel charger, USB cable, international plug adapters and a carry pouch; the remote automotive antenna has a magnetic mount for the outside of a vehicle or boat; suction mount for inside of the window and 8 feet of cable; a HotSync cradle with a serial connection for a PC is also available.

For complete details about these and other great gift ideas, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content



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