Blind-spot warning systems which use cameras or radar sensors to detect other vehicles in a driver’s “no-see-‘em” zone have become on a wider variety of vehicles. But the visual and audible alerts they give off — and that increase a growing cacophony of warning flashing and sounds lights from a proliferation of driver assistance systems — could become all too an easy task to ignore, which has become a symptom in and of itself.
Ignoring the visual alerts from Audi’s Side Assist blind-spot warning system shouldn’t be a problem since it’s bright enough to startle a driver, as I discovered recently while testing a 2014 Audi A7 TDI. In fact, it was actually too bright. Fortunately, the intensity of the warning (a series of yellow LEDs fixed to the side mirror housings) can be adjusted.
Both my partner and I on separate occasions flinched in the flash from the alert. The first time I initially thought that a police cruiser or other emergency vehicle which I hadn’t seen or heard was bearing down on me. So the Side Assist visual alert definitely gets your attention — if you would like it to.
While digging around from the driver assistance section of the A7 TDI’s in-dash, onscreen menu, I observed that the concentration of the Side Assist alert could be adjusted between dark to bright using the MMI rotary controller from the center console. I had it set to bright inside the video below, but this doesn’t carry out the brightness of your alert justice, especially when it’s dark out.
Interestingly, Audi’s Side Assist feature doesn’t also include an audible alert, like some blind-spot warning systems. Maybe that’s since the visual warning is so bright, but apparently Audi doesn’t agree that it is. On its media website, Audi says that “a yellow LED indicator lights up inside the side mirror housing without disturbing the driver, since the driver only sees it while looking directly with the mirror.”