180 degree reversing camera shows not only what’s behind you, but also what’s approaching from the sides. Picture: Ford of Europe

Brentwood, Essex - Rear-view cameras are nothing new, but the new fourth-generation Ford Focus makes what the maker calls “a big step forward in going backward” with a reversing camera that gives you a full 180 degree view.

It shows not only what’s behind you, but also what’s approaching from the sides - not just cars but cyclists and pedestrians, even pets. And that’s the crucial area, the biggest blind spot on most cars (including the new Focus) because it’s masked by the C pillar. Understandably, it’s also why many drivers are nervous about reversing, even backing out of a parking bay at the local shopping mall.

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The 180 degree camera, mounted just above the rear number plate, is backed up by radar sensors that also monitor movement towards the car from the sides.

If they detect an approaching obstacle the system will beep and a icon on the centre-stack display screen will show you where the danger is coming from; ignore it and the car will automatically brake to a stop to avoid a collision.

IOL Motoring