Driveway Alarms: What Are They and Why Do People Buy Them?

Home security technology has certainly come a long way since the 1970s. Back in the early days, home security involved little more than placing small contact sensors on windows and doors and installing a couple of strategically placed CCTV cameras. Today’s security systems utilize devices that were not even heard of 50 years ago. Take the driveway alarm. It is an emerging device that a lot of people are being turned on to.

If you have never heard of the driveway alarm, you aren’t alone. It’s not a device you typically see in suburban America. Rather, a driveway alarm is something you are more likely to find in the country or in wealthier suburban neighborhoods where longer driveways are the norm.

An Early Warning Device

A good way to think of the driveway alarm is to consider it an early warning device letting you know that someone is approaching your home. The sooner you know, the more quickly you can assess who your visitor might be. And if you are not expecting anyone, having an early warning could be critical to your safety.

Driveway alarms are intended for longer driveways that are either partially obscured or so long that a homeowner cannot see the street from the house. An entry level driveway alarm might have a range of about 500 feet while a more advanced alarm could have twice the range. But even 500 feet would be overkill for most suburban neighborhoods.

Sensing Motion and Heat

So, how do driveway alarms work? A typical alarm is designed to sense both motion and heat. Imagine combining a photoelectric smoke detector with a standard motion detector and you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on with the driveway alarm.

Consumers can improve driveway alarm performance by deploying multiple sensors. The more sensors deployed, the more sensitive an alarm is. Triggering any one of the sensors results in some sort of alerting action depending on the device’s design.

Some driveway alarms merely make noise. It is up to the property owner to listen for that noise and respond accordingly. Other driveway alarms can be integrated with home security systems to provide mobile alerts – or even alert a remote monitoring provider.

Monitoring a Suburban Driveway

While it may be impractical to monitor a 50-foot suburban drive with a driveway alarm, there are ways to adapt the principle to smaller driveways on heavily populated streets. Vivint Smart Home recommends either a video surveillance camera or video doorbell. Either type of device can send the same kinds of alerts to a cell phone or monitoring provider if it has such capabilities built in.

Surveillance cameras and video doorbells are pretty common devices in the modern smart home world. They can be purchased as standalone devices or as part of a complete home security system. But that begs the question of why someone would invest in a driveway alarm instead of surveillance cameras.

Cost could be a factor. For example, an especially long driveway could require multiple cameras to properly surveil. That could get expensive, especially if you need cameras with a much longer wireless range. Whatever the reasons, consumers have multiple options for protecting their homes against unauthorized access.

Consider Alarming Your Driveway

If your property has a long driveway that is partially obscured or too long to see in its entirety, a driveway alarm could enhance your security. Consider adding one. You can get them with a variety of features and at different price points, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs and budget.

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Matthew Okafor