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#3453353 - 08/12/14 11:03 AM Backup cameras
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 4880
Loc: NH
Post in one of my thread's jarred a thought: the comment was about how people can't park today w/o using a camera. So, my question is, were people better are parking in the past decades? Or did they back into things back then too?

Ok, a bit more serious: Today we complain about the higher beltline on vehicles. But I want to say that cars used to have much longer noses and tails. At least in the 60's. The lighter/smaller cars of the late 70's and through the 80's were different.

Was visibility (for backing up or parallel parking) better in the 80's and 90's? I tend to think so--but I wonder if it was worse before then. Backup cameras were not feasible back then. Are we complaining about something that really would have been helpful on through the decades?

Or are the boats that I think of, during the 60's and 70's, the atypical cars of that period?
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#3453360 - 08/12/14 11:09 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
Astro14 Online   content


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 4522
Loc: Virginia Beach
Cameras are nice, but they're a crutch. When parking a 70's boat (like my Olds 98 coupe...which was as long as a modern Suburban), I had to be more aware of surroundings, more precise in positioning, more careful in estimating distance. Smaller cars make that so much easier.

I drive a lot of rentals, dozens every year. Back up cameras make it so very easy and simple...
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#3453363 - 08/12/14 11:10 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
ThirdeYe Online   content


Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 7392
Loc: Walker, MI
Originally Posted By: supton
Post in one of my thread's jarred a thought: the comment was about how people can't park today w/o using a camera. So, my question is, were people better are parking in the past decades? Or did they back into things back then too?

Ok, a bit more serious: Today we complain about the higher beltline on vehicles. But I want to say that cars used to have much longer noses and tails. At least in the 60's. The lighter/smaller cars of the late 70's and through the 80's were different.

Was visibility (for backing up or parallel parking) better in the 80's and 90's? I tend to think so--but I wonder if it was worse before then. Backup cameras were not feasible back then. Are we complaining about something that really would have been helpful on through the decades?

Or are the boats that I think of, during the 60's and 70's, the atypical cars of that period?


I've never had a back-up camera (or any cars newer than the 90s, for that matter) and I've never had any issues parking in reverse. The only time I really have issues parking is because of how long the front of the Firebird is. It's tough to gauge how close to the curb you are. I tend to leave way too much room in front, but that's better than scraping the bumper.
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#3453366 - 08/12/14 11:11 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
jeepman3071 Offline


Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 1748
Loc: Storrs, Connecticut
I think the difference is that today's generation relies on technology completely, instead of using it as an aid. I use a back-up camera in my dad's Grand Cherokee because it helps me hook-up the trailer quicker and line up the hitch better.

Many people rely ONLY on the camera though, and that is the problem. Its fine to use the camera for the areas you can't see, while also checking the areas with your eyes that you can see. Some of my friends have almost backed out into cars in parking lots because they just looked at the screen, they didn't look out the back window to see if a car was approaching from the side. That is the difference. Technology is a wonderful tool when used correctly, but it does not take the place of being aware of your surroundings.
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#3453369 - 08/12/14 11:18 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 8579
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
I cold always see both ends of my mid 60's boats or my 70's FIAT 128 - I can only see as far as the front windshield wiper from the Nissan Note - and that's it.
High beltlines and French curve roof aero treatment with short boot overhangs are partially to blame. It was interesting that the Wife's new base forester x had a backup cam.
My Nissan doesn't even have power door locks or central locking though It DOES HAVE A STAINLESS STEEL MUFFLER AND TAIL PIPE smile
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#3453370 - 08/12/14 11:18 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
97tbird Offline


Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 8480
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
^ well said, Jeepman. Only 1 of our 3 cars have a back-up camera (wife's Mazda 6), and it also has a bunch of other warning systems/aids:
blind spot monitoring/lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert in addition to rear camera, and emergency front obstruction warning (which brakes and stops the car when speed is < 19 mph if the front camera detects an object, etc etc).

My wife insists on driving the other cars a few times a month, just so that she can drive and park and back up without all the nannies, and she is scared that she will get overly dependent on them. She likes the nannies but doesn't want to rely on them 100%.

So like jeepman said, I think they're fine, but one should still check blind spots, be able to backup without a camera, learn hot to use the mirrors, etc.
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#3453378 - 08/12/14 11:31 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
kam327 Offline


Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 371
Loc: Tampa
I don't think they're a crutch. I think they're a convenience and a very worthwhile safety feature.

I have small kids and there are many small kids on my street. I always walk to the back of the car to look behind it right before backing out of my garage and driveway onto the street. But that doesn't mean a small kid can't come running around the corner of the house as I'm getting back into the car and starting to back out. A backup camera eliminates that risk.

I think every car should have one.
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#3453379 - 08/12/14 11:32 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
Boomer Offline


Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1655
Loc: Pennsylvania
My feeling is the world is divided into two groups. Those that can parallel park (me) and those that cannot (my wife)!! Back when I took my driver's test on the course behind the State Ploice barracks in PA, I had to show that I could parallel park to pass the test. They actually got and measured to see if you were within 6" of the curb! Now I don't think that is included as part of the test.
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#3453382 - 08/12/14 11:33 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
larryinnewyork Offline


Registered: 02/10/12
Posts: 265
Loc: N.Y.
I have never driven a vehicle with a 'back up camera'.
I suppose it could be nice.

It has to make it easier for the ageing population of drivers.

But for most drivers, it should be a nice option, and not totally depended on.
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#3453386 - 08/12/14 11:39 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1354
Loc: California
Back up cameras are becoming so common that the next they will be replacing mirrors with such cameras. Why have a "blind spot" when a camera can be placed out of your line of sight? The image can be kept reversed so the transition to cameras will be quick and easy.

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#3453400 - 08/12/14 11:53 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
Nate1979 Offline


Registered: 04/08/13
Posts: 532
Loc: Portland, OR
Every time new technology comes along like this people complain and say you have to do it old school or else you are becoming over reliant on the technology blah blah blah.

Why is it that when something comes along that can be vastly superior to the old way of doing things the people who do it the old school way get on their high horse and make the new people feel inferior for accepting the new technology?

Sorry but the "old school" way of doing things has issues that people are trying to solve with technology. Go ahead and stick your head in the sand. People overestimate their abilities and often times these new technologies come along to fill the gaps where people do not want to admit they might not be as perfect as they say they are. It only takes one mistake, one second of distraction. I myself am glad for this new technology for the most part.
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#3453402 - 08/12/14 11:55 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
surfstar Offline


Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4380
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
How much has our population increased in the past decades?

Streets are tight, finding a parking spot downtown is a pain and then trying to fit in, quickly, so you don't block traffic.

Walk (better be barefoot and naked) if you don't want to rely on technology. Everything else does.
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2000 Civic HX 1.6L MTX ~42mpg
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#3453407 - 08/12/14 11:57 AM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 4880
Loc: NH
Good discussion, but: were cars easier or harder to park in the 60/70's? I think there is universal agreement that today's cars are harder to park, but I'm wondering how that perception true--or what is in reality, if one could drive a vehicle from each decade. Kinda like the tire thread about how a tire purchase done in 1949 for $75 was actually nearly $800 in today's money. And would have yielded tires lucky to hit 20,000miles.
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2004 VW Jetta Wagon, TDI, 5spd manual, 300kmile, his
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2010 Toyota Tundra double cab, 4.6L, auto, 89k

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#3453433 - 08/12/14 12:17 PM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
sasilverbullet Offline


Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 872
Loc: San Antonio, Tx
Interesting discussion, many good points.

Backing up, merging right was a pain in the rear in the 60's/70's. Most cars didn't even have a right-hand mirror. I drove many different sizes of vehicles back then, I got good at it, but now that I have a car with a backup camera I'm all for every car/truck having one.

I just sold my 70 Lincoln Mk III. It didn't have a right-hand mirror. I was researching how to install cameras as replacements for the side mirrors when I sold it. That would have been a nice/cool addition to the car.

My wife and I both hate that we really have no clue where the front or back of the car are on the newer cars.

Yes, we need to embrace new technology, but we should know how to "do it manually" in case the thing breaks.

New subject not mentioned - Lane-change camera. My 14 Civic EX-L has a camera mounted under the right hand mirror. From the factory it comes on when you put the right blinker on, or when you push a little button on the end of the blinker stalk. It's configurable to not come on at all (button still works though), or give a 2 second delay to turning off. I've driven 3K miles so far and I've played with it in many different configurations. I drive a varied route, lot's of traffic to open highway, country roads, etc. My take on it is it's AMAZING! Now I think every car should have this also. It's a real help in heavy traffic or when you need to change lanes real quick. I use it as a "backup", I always check as though it's not there, but that extra confidence that it gives is great.

My bottom-line, let's embrace the new stuff, but remember it's a help, not the only way to get the job done.
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#3453436 - 08/12/14 12:19 PM Re: Backup cameras [Re: supton]
morepwr Offline


Registered: 01/17/12
Posts: 1276
Loc: ventura, ca
We see vehicles with weird damage to the front fenders or the mirrors torn off because people are staring at the little screen when backing up and not actually watching what they are doing.

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