we wander too deeply into this essay, and expose what I hope will
be a bit of humor and fun, I want to offer a slight disclaimer.
know the cameras on cars, engaged when we shift into reverse and
start backing up, are important. This is especially true in improving
the safety for people, assisting in the prevention of serious
injuries. It is also true in the area of property loss and damage.
letís not go around thinking I donít recognize the value of cameras
on cars, or that Iím making fun of them in such a way that it
is believed I donít want them.
do you like having a backup camera?
to say, I hate it more than I like it.
not that it doesnít provide assistance. I do like being able to
see how close Iím inching toward the car behind me. Itís nice
to know Iíve given plenty of distance between the bumper and the
garage door when I get home. And when I have things in the driveway,
like a lawn mower or a snow blower or a shovel, I do prefer to
stop the car rather than find out itís there by bashing into it.
cameras are a delight.
are also a royal pain in the butt.
youíre driving at night, the entire dashboard lights up when the
display turns on, pretty much completely compromising a driverís
ability to use any mirrors on the vehicle. It can be, literally,
a blinding distraction.
also become a habit, an all-purpose crutch, where many people
donít use the mirrors even when they can see them. The look both
ways and check your mirrors mantra hasnít changed, itís been wiped
out of existence. It almost seems as though if itís not on the
camera, it doesnít matter.
one could likely make a pretty good argument that for all of the
gains and positive attributes that a backup camera on a vehicle
provides, there are comparable negative results as well.
said, give me the backup cameras. When you start bringing overall
safety into the picture, anything that assists in improving things
is worth putting into operation. (Just check your mirrors as well,
Iím here wondering about is something slightly different. Something
that occurred to me while moving my car a bit after having used
the backup view on my dashboard. And here it isÖ
donít I have cameras on my front bumper?
of it: Youíre pulling out of a parking spot moving forward in
drive, need to turn, and thereís something thatís going to be
a close call coming near the front edges of your vehicle. How
many times have you been turning your car where the ability to
see an image of your bumper and the objects nearby would have
been amazingly beneficial?
not just turning. There have been more than a handful of times
in my life where I was pulling directly into a parking spot and
managed to scrape the bottom of the front bumper on a curb or
parking block. Iím guessing you have a few of these moments to
your credit as well. Would have been really nice to know when
I was pulled far enough into the space to stop.
got a personal story about this that brings things home a bit.
(Literally home, as the situation would have it.) Terry and I
go to visit our parents from time to time. Often involves us staying
for a few nights. The driveways arenít exactly designed for the
additional vehicle, so you need to pull everyone up as far as
possible in order to keep the last car in from hanging out a bit
into the road.
get that there are some people that will argue about knowing your
vehicle and safe driving techniques. For the most part, thatís
fair. But there are moments when, say shifting a car into reverse
late at night, you begin to wonder if the testing of the units
really were designed for multiple situations and possibilities.
if the cameras and dashboard visual technology have progressed
enough in quality and cost to be a mandatory feature on all new
vehicles, it stands to reason that a few optional views wouldnít
be all that costly to add on.
before you go too crazy and start sending me letters or texts,
I want you to think about something. In reality, all Iím asking
is that when car manufacturers hold meetings to consider what
needs to be on a car, they think about forward facing cameras
as well. Maybe even something that switches on as an option, when
you know youíll be moving slowly and carefully. These are people
that have designed trunk space based on golf clubs. I donít think
Iím asking for much.
with that sorted out, I have a few thoughts on the buttons being
placed on my steering wheel. But we can discuss that at another