Unsure how to gift the people on your holiday list? If some of them are drivers, we can help.
Our list of 5 gifts to warm the heart of car owners, compiled in part from suggestions by Edmunds.com and AutoMD, aim at keeping your friends or loved ones safe or making things easier on a daily commute or long road trip.
Here is Road Santa's rundown:
Inexpensive back-seat entertainment. If it is a long drive to Grandma's house, playing a movie for the kids in the back seat will hold down on the frequency of "Are we there yet?" The Bracketron Universal Tablet Headrest Mount, $39.95, (pictured here) lets you install an iPad or other tablet where it is easy to see and can be swiveled for different angles. That's a big savings from a new-car, factory-installed rear-seat video system. (Those can set you back $4,000 or so because they typically must be bought as part of a package of expensive options.)
Organization for commuters. During that daily drive, safety dictates drivers find things without taking their eyes off the road. The inexpensive CommuteMate CellCup Auto Organizer, $10.09, can help. Designed to fit into a standard cup holder, it has sections to hold cell phones, keys, your iPod and any other small item crucial to commuting.
Help to stay connected. If someone on your list never likes to be out of touch, he or she will appreciate the Super Tooth HD, $129. This device lets you talk on your phone plus hear and dictate text messages through the car's audio system without taking your hands off the wheel. If your commuting friend has an older car, Super Tooth catches up with the latest factory technology such as Ford's SYNC system.
Keep your tires rolling. For safety's sake and improved gas mileage, it is important to keep tires inflated to the pressure specified by the manufacturer. So a tire pressure gauge, $10 to $15 plus air compressor, available for $26 from AAA make a nice combination. The compressor not only makes sure of dealing with a flat tire emergency but also is handy for inflating soccer balls, pool toys and much else.
Emergency notification. For a loved one whose safety is worth an expensive gift, consider OnStar. Long built into General Motors cars, the OnStar system notifies emergency operators in case of a crash and they immediately call first responders. Now, the system is available on non-GM cars at Best Buy for $274.99. The store installs it in place of the current rearview mirror, and you have the emergency response plus voice-directed navigation.
If you choose the right gift for drivers, they will think of you whenever they get behind the wheel.