Logic of Vision

As a reader you might be sick of hearing about it; my distaste for the vision available in new vehicles. I continue to feel strong about this topic. It's recently rehashed with my new career as a professional driving instructor.
You'll notice I barely move my hands, feet or body around, but my eyes and head is moving constantly! Driving is all about vision, I use my eyes to make safe driving decisions."
This is a quote from actual lessons with students. These young, fresh, road scholars sponge up information, excited for the opportunity to have the responsibility of driving on their own. It wasn't shocking when I began teaching that students even with only 20 minutes experience, would express complaints of vision out of our 2014 Honda Civic. Nearly every student remarks about their inability to see around the A pillars supporting the front windshield when scanning and making turns. You have to understand how important of a complaint this is. For the majority of the group I teach, these young adults have never operated an automobile before in their lives. Like a child pointing out the elephant in the room, we're all thinking it, even if we're not saying it: WE CAN'T SEE WHERE WE ARE GOING. This is dangerous, especially if you consider my quote above. Driving is 95% eye work. Observing hazards and adjusting our path of travel to accompany and/or avoid these hazards. I'm curious; dear design and engineering departments, on the list of design priorities, why is drivers vision not the most important factor? My interpretation of said list is as so: 1. Profitability, 2. Visual appeal, 3. Survival rate of a crash, 4. Ergonomics of the average market user, 5. Visibility of driver. A bit backwards, if you consider all decisions of a driver are almost solely defined by their visual observations. Actually, this list is fucking insane from a true concern of safety. Consumers can accredit a large amount of the blame on them selves. Surviving a crash is an important consideration when purchasing a car. I too as a manufacturer of a product wish to make something my customers actually want. So many customers want a car that is designed well to protect it's occupants. That's a fair requirement, to a point. The remaining fault of the current state of automotive design can be placed on the manufacturers, who have enough research and development to tell the customers "You're wrong." Survival is not the entirety of safety when driving. Cars now-a-days are reminiscent of those padded barrels, designed for surviving the plunge over Niagara Falls. These barrels offered a great survival rate, and no responsibility of the direction or speed of travel, much like new cars. Waist lines continue to rise, even since I began complaining about them. The new trend is to taper the waist line of the car higher in the back, an unlevel slant. The requirements for survival of a crash have steadily become more stringent year after year. Department of Transport (DOT) is looking out for you, the consumer. :) Nice guys. These changes force manufacturers to change their products. Roll over protection is more important than ever, especially with this huge influx of easily tipped SUV's. This has affected the waist line of vehicles more than ever before. The major cause of the tapered, unlevel waist line, is to increase roll over strength. this is also the reason that the A pillars, the sections of metal surrounding the windshield, stretch further forward, creeping way up the hood! Safer in a roll over, greater rate of survival. Is survival the entirety of safety? I don't think it is. As a society we learn over time, make mistakes and correct them. It's normal and a usual form of learning! It's a pleasant thing. :) I think it's time we learned that surviving the crash, is secondary to avoiding it to begin with. Maybe manufacturers are embracing this ideal with use of electronics and other devices. A step with the right intention, but wrong direction. It's important to me, specifically, that drivers are able to feel and take the responsibility of their safety. Environmentalists continue to complain about the resources it takes to assemble a new car. New cars are behemoths compared to those of old! The number of devices to avoid and survive the crash, not only remove responsibility from the driver, but add a great deal of weight and complexity to the vehicles. Weight directly equals resources. The more weight the vehicle carries, the greater volume of resources needed to construct it. This environmental offset is extreme, as you must consider the number of vehicles and time needed to collect, create and move said resources as well. Like many of the problems we talk about in this article, it too is self deprecating. Weight and environmentalism have another tie; fuel economy. Fuel is consumed to create power to move the weight of the car. New engines might be far superior in terms of fuel efficiency compared to those of the engines of the 1980's. However, the actual consumption numbers overall are worse. The vehicles weight nearly twice as much. A 20% improvement of the engine is negated, by the 100% increase in weight. Tools for survival cost more than just their purchase price, they come with a much heftier maintenance fee. This argument of weight isn't over either. Let's get back onto safety. If we're talking about about increasing the weight of the vehicle to survive the crash, maybe we should consider avoiding it first. Let's consult high school physics; an object in motion tends to stay in motion. We've all tried to hit a basket ball with a badminton racket. Unlike the shuttle cock we're supposed to hit, the basketball carries a greater weight, it takes a much greater force to disrupt the larger objects path of motion. The same applies to our automobile! A heavier car is harder to stop, harder to turn. Bigger brakes, and ultimately wider tires will solve this issue. However, they raise their own issues. In the dry, wider tires have greater friction on the road, good for braking and turning, not so good for that precious fuel economy so sought after. More expensive to replace, and more likely to wear faster, heavier cars need servicing more: greater strain on the vehicle and it's tires. Let's dial back to the physics lesson though. If it is harder to stop and tougher to turn, does that mean we are more likely to crash if something occupies our path? Yes. We need a greater distance, an even better observation of the road in front of us to prepare for said resistance. We have the opposite; worse vision. With this train of logic, we're left with the self deprecating problem that, the more we prepare for the crash, the less likely we are to see it early, therefore the less time we have to change our path through it. Our car is heavier, so we need more distance to stop and a greater amount of traction to turn. What does all this mean? We are more likely to crash. Simply put, the chances of getting into a collision are greater! We've reduced our vision and our ability to avoid it and worst of all, reduced drivers sense of responsibility. I can't imagine the statistics and how they multiply themselves. Sure our frequency of survival has increased, but I can guarantee our likelihood of being in a crash has increased even more. What are some other factors not considered? -Snow and wet weather: Our physics lesson problem is multiplied when the traction of the surface of the road is reduced. Cars take even longer to stop, not just because of the weight, but also the width of a tire. Much like a snow shoe, the bigger the surface area, the more likely we are to sit on top of the snow and water, like hydroplaning, rather than sink down to the bottom to find traction. Even in mud and dirt, lower weight requires less traction to propel it forwards! -Size of the vehicles: On a narrow road, smaller cars are far less likely to collide with something else. The smaller vehicle takes up less space. This is safer not only for the driver, but also cyclists and pedestrians having more room to operate near the road. We often shuffle non-drivers away from the road, but it's impossible, pedestrians and cyclists too need to occupy the road. With less vehicle size, everyones safety increases, not just ours. This is another matter of avoiding a collision rather than surviving it! In the case of a fast reaction to an object occupying our path, a narrow car is also more likely to miss it, even if it's a matter of centimeters, it all counts when you're attempting an emergency maneuver. A few CM's less width, and a lower weight, can mean a HUGE difference in avoiding a crash. Less weight makes it easier to slow a vehicle and steer around something quickly, the smaller size increases the chances of no contact at all, dramatically!!! -Windshield Angle: It seems all these things we discuss in this topic are self deprecating. Consider this; with the increase in weight, and the need to not only appeal to the now more strict requirements for roll over safety considering this greater weight, but also to maintain some sort of focus on fuel economy, the roof line, and specifically front windshield angle is dramatically affected. This stretched out, long, low angle front windshield is a sign of our current times in vehicle design. The self deprecation of this issue is that the bigger the windshield, the more weight. Glass is the heaviest material, besides fluids, in the construction of a vehicle. These new windshields become larger and larger. As they angle they must stretch in size to compensate for the viewable area in front of the car, this does not compensate for the viewing area slightly to the left or right of the car. People who wear glasses will know, that their glasses work best when the lense is perpendicular to their line of sight. As the lense is angled closer to being parallel with their line of sight, the more the light passing through the glass is distorted before reaching the viewers eyes! Try this with sunglasses at home. This is happening with the drivers vision as well!! The more we angle the windshield, the more the information we're processing through it becomes distorted. Another dangerous problem. There are other problems with this windshield angle as well. Dashes become increasingly longer, now cleaning the window inside the vehicle is significantly more difficult. Drivers are driving with dirtier windows than before! Additionally, the angle of the windshield and the larger dash area, results in a greater reflection of the dash on the windshield! The light coming through the window illuminates the large scale dash, which is expensive to manufacture in anything other than cheap glossy plastic. The lower angle of the window directs the reflection almost directly at the drivers eyes. Even more vision lost!!!!! The worst and ultimately most dangerous problem to add to this compounding problem, is the A pillar of the windshield creeps further forwards to support the now much more angled windshield. This A pillar has to be even larger in new vehicles, as it's longer, so it needs to be thicker to be as strong for roll over protection. Even worse is automakers have begun placing more survival tools in our field of vision. Pillar airbags bulk the A pillar up larger. It's well known that left turns are the more dangerous of the two, these vision issues are a multiplier of this danger. Watch, in traffic, drivers, wobbling their heads left and right around their A pillar just to be able to spot their path on a regular left turn. This is extremely dangerous!!! Vision is the number one observational tool to AVOID A CRASH. Why is the importance of vision ignored??!?!? -Vision isn't just out the front window: When teaching students how to drive in tight areas, with lots of parked cars and a high amount of foot traffic, we often use a technique called 'Ground checking'. This is the practice of looking under and also through other vehicles to see pedestrians who are nearby and moving. It's a great technique to make advanced decisions of safety, for our own, but also others. New cars are extremely difficult to see through, when parked. Their larger physical size, but also, much smaller visible window area, hides pedestrians much more than before!!! Looking through a vehicle is not just a little bit harder, but dramatically more difficult. This is seriously unsafe. Reversing needs to be considered as well. Cars are still equipped with a reverse gear, and every driver uses this gear daily when driving, mostly with parking. Here in North America we have this lazy habit of driving nose first into a parking space or driveway. This results in drivers having to back-into moving traffic of the parking lot, or worse, the road! These tapered, unlevel, and high waisted cars are nearly impossible to see out of in reverse. A small, unacceptable solution is reverse cameras, which for the most part only solve the problem of seeing how far behind us the hedge is. The vision is second hand information, first hand info is a much higher quality of information allowing us much better decisions. The usefulness of the reverse camera is best left to lining up trailers, rather than deciding the safety of everyone behind us. What does this all mean? Nothing, it's just my observation as a car crazed nut. I hate the current psuedo-technological, faux-smart vehicles, focused heavily on disconnecting the driver from the car itself. Self driving vehicles are awesome, Partially human controlled vehicles are dangerous, it should be an obvious contrast. It's the drivers responsibility to avoid the crash before worrying about surviving it. Currently DOT standards do not have this focus offering the driver a better opportunity to be responsible, and it is extremely dangerous for our ever increasing number of road users. The vehicles continue to get larger, and harder to view out of. With the inevitable increase of traffic on the roads each year, it seems entirely logical to focus on avoiding collisions. If we avoid it, we've survived it. Please DOT, change your expectations of an automobile to a logical observation of real safety.

Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published


  • Well said! Might as well be driving blind these days.

    • Pamela turner
  • Holy shit. So many people still like these useless pickups with no box.
    Anonymous permalink
    May 21, 2015 3:21 am

    I own an mk3 and id have to disagree with a lot of these faults. yes it is heavy but it handles its weight very well and with the positive negative camber thing, that not an issue with daily driving or most sporty driving for that matter. you act like the 7m makes no power, but even my na with almost no mods, and in need of a tune up feels decently powerful. the steering lock issue? what are you on about? it has too little steering lock for daily use? no it doesn’t. and you show that by having a drifting car? stupid. oh no it comes in burgundy! just get it in blue, grey or beige, youre not stuck with that color. the power steering does kinda suck, there is very little to no steering feel, so ill give you that one.
    Dan Choptij (@DChoptij) permalink
    May 13, 2015 2:15 am

    The MK3 is a stylish luxury sport coupe that’s not a race car move out of your mom’s house and build the race car elsewhere.
    Anonymous permalink
    April 29, 2015 10:10 pm

    This guy that post this is a dickhead and needs to get a asswhipping I own two mk3 and is able to keep up with M3 and skyline’s because a prope mechanic tuned my cars !!!!!!!! 2 years experiance LOL I bet you can’t even chance a tire you stupid POES !
    thatmattdoe permalink
    April 12, 2015 11:37 pm

    7MGTE FTW!!!!
    Joysjane permalink
    March 28, 2015 7:49 pm

    Sounds like some nerd (wanna be cool) who’s never owned a Supra (wanna be) and has only drifting (wanna be) on their tiny cranial cavity!
    Ahhhhhh… the sounds of a computer keyboard Supra (wanna be) owner.
    You funny, you make me raff…
    Skipshot permalink
    March 28, 2015 7:47 pm

    Sounds like some nerd (wanna be cool) who’s never owned a Supra (wanna be) and has only drifting (wanna be) on their tiny cranial cavity!
    Ahhhhhh… the sounds of a computer keyboard Supra (wanna be) owner.
    You funny, you make me raff…
    Ethan permalink
    March 7, 2015 9:50 am

    You sir are a d*******, these so called facts are mostly wrong, you have must no sense of faith/creativity whatsoever. MK3 Supras are great cars, and every car has their downfalls. Why do you think they are so popular all over the world???
    Lebowski permalink
    January 29, 2015 2:51 am

    I’ve never seen so many people so offended by an article about a car… most people get offended by things that are factual, so quit being so upset for owning shitty fucking land boats with a turbo. when people tell me my own cars suck (85′ Celica, 2x AE86 GTS, 81′ Corolla wagon, 76′ Corona Mark II, 4Runner, 3x Toyota Pickup V6, Hilux Surf, Sprinter Carib 4WD) I don’t get upset, I just say “that’s alright, you don’t have to drive it” and in my mind I know they are wrong, but I won’t voice it. If there is something shitty about one of my cars and someone points it out, I will agree, not loose my shit and wish the person to die and have their kneecaps broken…

    Artiom Hilchenko permalink
    January 22, 2015 6:23 pm

    only GTR pussyface ovner can wrote that shit))) LOL
    Anonymous permalink
    January 22, 2015 1:11 pm

    i like the pictures i have two turbos and a 85 6m 5 speed thanks
    Anonymous permalink
    January 16, 2015 12:09 am

    This guy is a moron. Im sorry but much of what you have stated is not true. Such as the weight. It DOES NOT weigh as much as the truck. They weigh right around 3500 lbs. Thats the same weight as the Mustangs of that era and produce the same power while handling better at the same time. Even in the 1/4 mile a stock MKlll is capable of high 14s to low 15s if driven correctly. Same as the mustangs buddy. Nobody cares how long you worked on these things. As a matter of fact that just makes you look like more of an idiot as you should know how wonderful these cars are. Sure there are cons to this car but none of which you have stated here. Stop looking up stuff on wiki and using it to post biased uneducated drivel just because you dont like a car.
    Anonymous permalink
    January 15, 2015 7:13 pm

    You just sound like a rambling idiot who has a grudge against a beloved and beautifully designed car. If you don’t like the car it’s fine, go get a different one but making annoying accusations that are inaccurate or bais is just obnoxious.
    Mica permalink
    January 11, 2015 8:13 pm

    Bro, what the fuck is wrong with you? I own a MK3 &nd I’m hitting 467 BHP. You’re a damn idiot, and I agree with that guy you deserve to get both your kneecaps broken in.
    Erik permalink
    December 30, 2014 8:32 pm

    If I’m going to drive this everyday as a normal car, not upgrade it and leave it stock, and just always cruise in sixth, does any of this really matter?
    And I would find the average person would love the Targa top, because you would essentially be able to take part of the roof off to take a stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
    And because this car is heavy, wouldn’t that make the car safe? Because it would be stiffer and harder to puncture. And you have the iconic reliability that Toyota is known for.
    And the burgundy part is 100% bias because everyone has different tastes.
    muksupe permalink
    December 8, 2014 2:12 am

    Your a piece of shit for posting this…i hope someone with a mk3 hits you and breaks both your knees with its glorious front clip while your on your way to buy walmart spinners and a fart can for your bone stock 80s honda.
    Artiom Hilchenko permalink
    December 6, 2014 4:40 am

    who wrote that shit – is just a ass-handed cock sucker
    SupraA70 permalink
    November 15, 2014 1:50 am

    Go on YouTube and find the 8 second mk3 supra that’s red… That’s right it hit an 8 on a drag strip… This car kicks ass and will fuck up your car in a race, if you even have one.
    Anonymous permalink
    November 2, 2014 6:52 pm

    dude is just pissed cause I smoked his 944.
    Anonymous permalink
    October 30, 2014 3:42 pm

    Yes, Garbage I agree, but we still like it as everyone else does. Very problematic cars, deferential, Transmission, engine head gasket, electrical, suspension, the entire car needs reworking ever so often. Not sure but it’s probably worth the effort.
    JEAN PIERRE permalink
    October 22, 2014 11:29 pm


    Anon permalink
    September 14, 2014 5:49 pm

    My mk3 hardtop weighs 3420, I just switched the seats so maybe 3400 or 33xx with the majority of it’s weight being steel beams from 1987 protecting the passenger compartment and sound deadening for the previous owner it was marketed for (it’s a grand tourer, made for businessmen in 1987 that don’t give a shit and prefer cruising over sitting in a plastic interior that hurts your ass, Lexus was not launched until 1989 btw) a new 2015 v6 read v6 mustang weighs 3500 and just added independent rear suspension after being made fun of for being shit in corners for over 20 years… Oh and a GTR is around 4000lbs
    Physics doesn’t give a crap any car can go fast it’s all about preferences
    Me permalink
    September 14, 2014 4:46 am

    DL- The R32 GTR is not a direct rival of the Supra, in fact the GTR didn’t really have a direct rival as there was no equivolent at the time, It was built to win races basically. The 300ZX was the rival of the Supra, both 3 litre NA and turbo, both GT cars, RWD targa and hardtop. They were made to look cool, handle ok, be comfortable and be a bit exciting when the mood struck. They tick all of these boxes.

    The 7M has it’s flaws yes, and 230hp is nothing special by today’s standards. Especially for a turbo 3 litre. In the 80’s they had crap fuel to contend with and old engine management technology.

    They can be woken up to make solid power with a few mods. There is no denying this. They can handle quite well with some basic suspension upgrades too.

    The author deserves all of the shit thrown at him because he is a massive wanker with no idea of what he is talking about. Name one vehicle manufacturer that quotes power at the wheels? Anyone who knows/tunes cars would know this.
    DL permalink
    September 9, 2014 5:22 am

    I agree very mich with the author. This car really suck big time. And to Lara Lam, you’re a big noob fanboi. Why won’t you accept the fact that it really sucks from the factory. Does other cars like rival skyline Gtr BNR32 suck as bad from the factory? It even held its own vs. the ferrari testarossa! Or how about the lesser celica or silvia s13s? Heck! They can be called tuner cars but they don’t have to be modded almost from ground up to be good!

    See, I love cars like these as much as the next guy but we must give credit where credit is due… And don’t when it doesn’t deserve one. These are cold hard facts. All that comments here to bash the author are either noob or an owner of this car and pretends / goes blind to its flaws… TONS of it as a matter of fact.
    Lara Lam permalink
    August 10, 2014 4:19 pm

    omg!! what a cock!!

    Firstly its a tuning car which means setting it up and modifying it to your desired set up, No race car used on a track is any where near close to the factory car it was based on!!!!
    And further more the 7mgte engine is one of the best factory tuners eva made and way a head of anything of its time. just coz some nob who don’t no how to drift blames it on the steering rack!!! they can paste lambo’s in a drag race, tuned up its a poor persons super car!! u can buy one for the same price as a Nissan micra so rock ON

    Its called a grinder! if its to heavy cut some shit of!! like aircon, air bags, ABS power steering and interior coz no one likes bage! but really
    change the rack to a competition rack and mount it higher lower the suspension and ill rape your GTR however tuned, coz I rely on my skill not the cars!!

    And Quinn if u want to know what a spanner is? go look in the mirror!!
    Aldo “Skip” Vassoler permalink
    August 3, 2014 11:20 pm

    This individual makes me laugh!
    Has a whole two years of experience working on Toyota Supra’s… WOW!
    I have 35+ years working in my trade. That would be considered an expert in my field along with a respected opinion.
    Anonymous permalink
    August 2, 2014 9:22 am

    Every car has its flaws; it’s useless to bash on about it just because you had a hard time maintaining your cars; obviously you were doing something wrong there, plenty of videos out there proving that there are people that can build/maintain one of these properly. Based on your NEED to post this online; you clearly feel inferior in some way to others in your profession, or you’re simply immature. Go work on that; while you’re at it go back to Japan and get a better sense of what it means to be apart of this culture. Seriously dude, this is one of those things you keep to yourself.

    About that honda fag pest (yes that’s you VR4whateverthefuck) Talking about “Nosing” your integra you can do that, and blow it up faster than a 7M ;) Thats about the only thing you can do better than a mk3. Get a real car, only a handful of people dislike the mk3; but nobody respects a piece of shit honda! NO ONE is waiting for your turd to turn up at a show; at least when my whip pulls up I get a couple good looks and head nods, only rarely do I deal with idiots like the op or yourself; and most of the time they’re “baby dick” complexities that drive shit boxes too! See a pattern here? I’ll dismiss someone who drives something decent as arrogant, but you’re just sad.
    Jay permalink
    July 23, 2014 2:33 am

    Hey, that’s Lam’s yellow mk3!
    Carlo permalink
    July 20, 2014 7:26 pm

    You’re an asshole …. This car is awesome
    Anonymous permalink
    July 16, 2014 1:15 pm

    These r just reasons of a person with poor experience. I’ve worked fir Toyota I have owned 4 Toyotas. The mk3 supra being 1 of them. I have no complaints with the car n it’s fun to take ppl on with a well blue printed engine. My theory had always been know your cars limitations and then build it up.
    TROLL permalink
    July 15, 2014 3:33 am

    WRONG this guy is fucking GENIOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Anonymous permalink
    July 10, 2014 3:23 pm

    this guy is a dumbass an mk3 is a very sturdy car and 200 horse inn the 80s is alot cock munch not to mention how much toyota choked its real power. some even had 2 Catholic converters and a resonator! without that my friends car gets about 247hp to the tires not to the crank! dino tested. best car ever made. you also are talking about the lowest end motor toyota made s turbo version that had 240 stock so u keep ading your stickers to your mustang fag
    Panger permalink
    July 5, 2014 8:44 pm

    Sorry Quin, but ur just plain wrong on some of those facts. But…. Ur Def right on some of them, lol. Most of its problems (excluding some gay interior colours and heavy weight) can be fixed easily with aftermarket parts. U’ve seen my car drift rather capably (admittedly not super competitive) at Cap-D. And if u can trust the scale at Western, which I don’t really, my car loaded with tools and drift spares was 4000lbs. I estimate at least 500lbs extra weight (passenger was in it), which puts it in line with truck scales I’ve weighed it on.

    And ur right… 99.9% of aftermarket styling for it looks like shit, but that’s cuz it was designed in the 90’s! I bought Shine auto kit and looks mint. Just gotta be picky and have some taste, haha.

    Anyways, hope to get back out to the island someday soon and invade ur personal space with my poopra :-P

    Entertaining read :-)
    dominic furedi permalink
    July 5, 2014 9:06 am

    Your full of shit I own a 400hp 1ggze converted to a duel turbo and out goes any 1jz engines and shitty 7m . People like you should go hang your self .
    bbp permalink
    July 2, 2014 1:27 pm

    I have to say, a good bit of the things you said were way out in left field. And anyone that bases a cars performance on peak hp numbers from the factory doesnt know anything about cars performance…. turbo cars (stock small frame) you have peak torque from like 2-2500 rpms…
    qqq permalink
    June 10, 2014 1:51 pm

    Просто ты безмозглый уебан
    Jim permalink
    June 9, 2014 4:19 am

    I read all of your reasons and like any car when you get the base model you are getting very little im toyota owner and ive had at least 15 soarers, supras ant to be honest im extremely happy but i got 1jzgtevvti and 2jzgtevvti they start first time everytime they are very reliable and resale value its there for me . I had bmw years ago 735 and mate same thing it was base model so only had 3.5 inline 6 which had to pull 2 tones and powerwise was good for fuck all way because was base model but always get what you can afford and make sure its the cream of the cream of that model and you will be more then satisfied. I love toyota p

    • Anonymous