AutoMatters & More: Garmin DriveAssist 50 GPS Navigation with Built-In Dash Cam


For decades we have appreciated Garmin portable GPS navigation devices for their intuitive interface design, reliable operation and state-of-the-art technology. In addition to providing visual and spoken, turn-by-turn directions to your destinations, they provide a variety of other navigation information including estimated time of arrival, lane guidance (especially useful when driving on wide, multi-lane, crowded freeways); speed limits; millions of points of interest, including restaurants, gas stations, shopping centers, banks and ATMs, parking, airports, attractions, hospitals, transportation, hotels and auto repair facilities; availability of lifetime map updates and timesaving traffic information; and more.

Directions are spoken much the way someone would tell them to you, and include recognizable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights. Points of interest often include additional information – such as the names of individual attractions and restaurants at major theme parks. If you misspell the name of a fast food restaurant or some other establishment, Garmin DriveAssist will help by responding with similar search results to what you entered.

Bluetooth connectivity with your smart phone is available, as is the capability to respond to your spoken commands for hands-free, safer operation. Compared to early GPS devices, these calculate much more quickly and have sufficient on-board memory to store street and highway maps for the entire country and beyond. With each new generation Garmin continues to innovate by providing additional, worthwhile features.

The new Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT represents a significant evolutionary step over previous models by adding a built-in dash cam. This is a member of Garmin’s new “Drive” line, specifically designed to help increase driver situational awareness.

Very easy to use, this dash cam records continually, recording over older videos when the easily removable and upgradable microSD memory card reaches its capacity. In the event of a collision the DriveAssist 50 will automatically save the recording of that incident, along with your vehicle’s location and speed, in case that is needed to provide evidence of what happened to your insurance company and law enforcement.

The videos and data can be reviewed on the DriveAssist 50 and later on your computer, using Garmin’s Dash Cam Player.

The lens of the built-in dash cam can be swiveled so that it can be pointed towards the center of the vehicle, while at the same time facing the GPS device’s screen towards the driver. Be sure to check state and local laws to determine where these may and may not be mounted, and what passenger notifications might be required.

Many of today’s new cars offer innovative accident avoidance electronics, including the ability to alert you if you get too close to the vehicle that is ahead of you on the freeway. The Garmin DriveAssist 50 provides that feature and more, including lane departure warnings that alert you if you drift off the road or into oncoming traffic. “Go” Alert notifies you when the stopped traffic in front of you begins to move, when your car is stopped at an intersection or in traffic.

Have you ever had the frightening experience of realizing that you are accidentally driving the wrong way on a one-way street? The Garmin DriveAssist 50 will warn you about that, too. Additional alerts notify you of approaching changes in the speed limit, sharp curves, school zones and railroad crossings.

When you are approaching select destinations, Garmin Real Vision will switch your navigation display to camera view where a bright arrow will point towards where you need to go.

At five inches, the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT is sized in the sweet spot. It is small enough to take with you – along with your saved destinations – to use in any vehicle, and to reduce the risk of having it stolen.

The screen is large enough for you to comfortably see the information on it when it is mounted. That is a very important feature that separates these dedicated GPS devices from smartphones, which tend to have smaller screens and tiny lettering.

Optional, extra cost accessories include the Garmin BC 30 wireless backup camera (professional installation recommended) that lets you see vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles that might be in your path when backing up. Garmin babyCam is an optional in-vehicle baby monitor that provides an on-demand view of your backseat passenger.

The suggested retail price of the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT is only $299.99. For more information, go to and enter DriveAssist 50LMT in the search window.

Join in the conversation. Send your comments and suggestions to

Copyright © 2016 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #444