Car design increasingly restricts vision - no good on a country lane

Torbay Weekly

Driving in the lanes of Devon is a skill learnt over many years and it is surprising how many visitors to our region clearly have no experience of narrow roads with passing places nor the driving test requisite of demonstrating reversing ability.

We have all come across the curmudgeonly driver resolutely refusing to back up and I have often wished for a sign to show how many times I have just reversed at the same spot!

Modern car design increasingly restricts our rear and side vision with bulky and needless rear quarter panels which obliterate our ‘over the shoulder’ three-quarter rearward sight line.

This is nothing to do with strength or safety just a design trend. Then there are high backed seats, rear headrests and small back windows.

Car design after the war favoured increased glass areas, wrap around screens, slim pillars and low side windows.

One could also see the front wings ahead and rear wings behind allowing perfect car placement for parking.

Aerodynamics now dictate a shape that cannot be seen from within.

We are reliant on parking sensors, door mirrors and that’s about all.

Throw into the mix a wet, dark night with car headlights behind and in front of you, water drops rendering the door mirrors useless and parking sensors going beserk!

What chance have you got of backing into a space under these conditions?

The fact that we all manage somehow to survive these lanes actually demonstrates what remarkably good drivers we all are with skill sets that have evolved with experience.

The terrified expressions we witness of newcomers to our lanes sums up just how good we have all become and actually, we also show great courtesy to one another with our hand acknowledgement.

Locals are good at recognising the mutual difficulties when we meet head-to-head.

Let us also recognise the difficulties our tractor drivers face especially when they have bulky trailers behind.

We must also remember that the delivery vans we meet are actually delivering the goods we collectively have ordered on line and it’s no fun for them either.