Most new non-base-level cars come equipped with blind spot monitors, small indicators on the side mirrors that let you know if a vehicle is in your car’s blind spot. Sure, they’re fancy and new, but are they worth the extra expense?

Blind spot monitors vary slightly by company, but they generally all work the same way. There are sensors in the car that monitor areas to the left and right of the vehicle. When an object enters a specific area, an icon lights up in the side mirror corresponding to the side that the object is on to let the driver know that there is an object in the blind spot.

If a driver activates the turn signal while the blind spot monitor is lighted, the monitor may flash or change color, communicating that the driver really shouldn’t move into that lane at that time.

If you’re not a shoulder-checker, a blind spot monitor could save you a collision. Similarly, if you have a large vehicle, where monitoring the entire auto can be difficult, or have children and so frequently encounter distractions while driving, monitors may be a helpful tool.

Blind spot monitors are probably most useful on multi-lane highways with lots of traffic that moves quickly, so especially good for commutes if you’re in a or near a city.

All in all, though, you may want to take a car with blind spot monitors for a spin to really get a feel for it. Some drivers may not notice the icons, rendering the extra expense useless. If it saves you even one collision, though, wouldn’t you say the monitors are worthwhile?