Hooniverse Asks: Does Not Being Able to "Look Through" The Car Ahead Frustrate the Hell Out of You?

Chicago
Okay, so this is probably just a reality check as it may only be a pet peeve of mine, but do you hate riding behind vehicles, especially on the freeway/motorway that don’t allow you to see the cars ahead of it?
Whether it’s a work van or a particularly tall SUV with heavy window tint, I can’t stand the visual blockade that prevents me from seeing the brake lights (that CHMSL was a good idea!) of the cars ahead. What about you, do you feel the same way, or do you just give them a few more car-lengths when you follow?
Image: My Life Be Like Ohh, Ahh, Ohh

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  1. Sjalabais Avatar
    Sjalabais

    Definitely. It’s not like I turn into The Red Faced Man, but, yes, I pass trucks, busses and RVs occasionally only to get a better view. And to remain at speed during the next incline. Win win.

  2. GTXcellent Avatar
    GTXcellent

    Living so remotely, I’ve gotten frustrated with just having A car in front of me 😉
    But yeah, there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind a vehicle (usually grain trucks) that you can’t see the road ahead.

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar
    smalleyxb122

    …do you feel the same way…?
    Yes.
    …do you just give them a few more car-lengths…?
    Also yes.

  4. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    They get bonus points for aggressive accelerating and braking. Seriously, unless they’re also behind a vision obstruction, why can’t they anticipate the traffic flow a little?

    1. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      Unfortunately, nobody seems to anticipate anymore. Taking I-8 west to I-5 here, telling you specifically which lane will go where, there are:
      5 consecutive sets of overhead signs (each with one arrow/destination for each lane) starting about 1.5 miles out, AND
      2 sets of signs painted on each lane (so no matter whether you’re looking up at the sky or down at the ground, you;’re bound to see SOMETHING), yet people STILL swerve 2 or 3 lanes over at the last minute to get into the correct lane.
      I believe the problem is that drivers just aren’t looking out the windshield anymore.

  5. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    I’m usually too busy texting to care what’s ahead of the vehicle ahead of me. Or too drunk to notice.

    1. Alff Avatar
      Alff

      You shouldn’t text and drive. It makes it harder to apply makeup.

      1. Lokki Avatar
        Lokki

        Wait – apply makeup while driving? No way!! I mean doing that forces a choice between putting down my phone or my beer. People will just have to accept my appearance for what it is. I mean – Hell, nobody looks good in a mugshot anyhow, so why bother?

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Another reason I don’t own a cell phone.

        2. karonetwentyc Avatar
          karonetwentyc

          The mugshot always looks more awesomer if you’re also giving the camera the bird, which is what you should be doing in traffic anyway. Bonus points if you can keep the beers in your hands while doing it.

  6. engineerd Avatar
    engineerd

    When I drive the Jeep there are only a few vehicles that I can’t see through/over. It makes driving much more pleasant as I can look ahead several cars to anticipate what traffic is doing. However, the BMW is low enough that I can’t see through a great many vehicles. If one of these unpenetrable vehicles is driving douchily, I will randomly change lanes without signalling so that I can see what’s going on*.
    *Not really, but I know what you all think about BMW drivers.

    1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

      You’re not really a BMW driver. You’re a lapsed Mustang driver*
      * wait, that’s a bigger insult.

  7. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    Sometimes. When it’s a van like that, I can understand. Usually, I just get around them at the first opportunity.

  8. Alff Avatar
    Alff

    I’m much more likely to change lanes to get out from behind a big truck, especially any that are likely to throw gravel. A couple of my windshields are made from unobtanium.

  9. theskitter Avatar

    It’s one thing with a tractor trailer.
    They are slow, steady, and generally predictable.
    Heavy-tint, heavy-foot, heavy reaction time is no good at all.

  10. roguetoaster Avatar
    roguetoaster

    It’s no fun at all, and rather unsafe for other drivers even if maintaining a better than average following distance. I can also say that it’s unsafe to drive the things as I drove a Transit Connect for about a year at work, and why on earth they didn’t spec the rear window for the extra $200 I will never know. It took me about a week, but I learned to not pull in forward to any spaces lest I have to back out and run over/in to something directly behind be.
    Even on more transparent vehicles it’s often hard to see through with the obscene levels of tint being plastered on cars/SUVs right out of the factory coupled with the standard rear headrests and abnormally dark interiors. That, and high trunk lids on cars, why??
    Perhaps with the advent of cheap, almost flat displays large or otherwise obstructed view vehicles should have a system to display what’s in front of them for the motoring public. Yes, I know, more cost/complexity=bad.

    1. Professor Lavahot Avatar
      Professor Lavahot

      Hey, somebody with Transit Connect experience! I posted on Last Call last night that I was interested in one for small-footprint family-hauling, but I need to know: Does driving a TC suck? I know it’s going to be slow, but is it painful?

      1. roguetoaster Avatar
        roguetoaster

        It really isn’t slow, and I do rather like the drivetrain, it revs and shifts fairly willingly, but always sounds slow. I suggest a sporty exhaust to make it more fun. Even when fully loaded with roofing materials I never felt it was overwhelmed. It handbrake slides well too, but only if they aren’t your tires.
        The one I was driving had a metal partition between cabin/cargo area, and a storage rack on the drivers side (taking up most of the left side cargo door), so some complaints may be related to that.
        Problems:
        Right knee in frequent contact with center console
        Sliding doors don’t stay in the rear/locked position if you are on any sort of slope
        Rear doors do the same darn thing
        Cargo area floor cover is easily damaged/scuffed
        No good space to set a modern phone in the cabin (for navigation purposes)
        Clock on the cheapie version impossible to read in sunlight
        Really floppy/cheap sun visors, when put in side position they don’t stay still, in front position, they flip weirdly to a position that’s not ideal
        Fuel mileage isn’t amazing as expected
        Engine sounds coarse and cheap (but works fine), might be the lack of sound deadening
        HVAC cannot blow in to the foot wells, A/C otherwise effective
        Center console storage not good for drinks or general use
        Positives:
        Useful cargo area, granted no 4×8 plywood hauler inside, but the WeatherWhatever rack system worked well even if the paint did chip off in places
        There are enough doors to allow you to load the vehicle even when already loaded, or to facilitate solo loading (sliding/shifting) of weird/bulky items
        Seats (vinyl) aren’t bad for comfort, but lack adjust ability, especially back (partition issue?) and down (standard issue)
        The overhead storage area was great for paperwork storage
        There is behind seat stowage with the partition in place
        Door open warnings were not obnoxious (spent lots of time filling out paperwork in the cab door open)
        Very easy to service for oil changes, most other items look accessible
        Feel free to ask specific questions, and I’ll answer them as I can. For family hauling I believe it would be fine, especially with a roof rack.

        1. Professor Lavahot Avatar
          Professor Lavahot

          Thanks!
          That gas mileage is the real killer. Maybe reduced maintenance costs for a low-spec engine will be worth it.
          Did you drive yours as a 2008-2013, or 2014-2016? The first one seems way better, but mostly because I think the cabin seems much bigger (taller, at least) and more flexible. Ones that haven’t been used hard seem difficult to find.
          A 4-cylinder Colorado Crew Cab WT can be had with incentives for around the same price, and it’ll have almost the same gas mileage plus more tow capacity and what I can only assume is better truck durability. But, not nearly as charming or kid-friendly.

          1. roguetoaster Avatar
            roguetoaster

            It was a ’15, never got to drive a first gen, but I never heard glowing remarks about them (opposed to the 2nd gen, where no one said anything positive or negative), and as far as trade/service vehicles go it seems that almost no first gen TCs remain in use. This of course makes them less expensive, but might also indicate an issue that caused companies to replace them with something else.
            I do believe that they (both generations) were built to rather low price point, and as such probably don’t have the best long-term quality, epecially when it comes it interior materials. I can say that the paint isn’t really thick, and that the 2nd gen is highly susceptible to rock chips on the hood.
            Ultimately, the TC was replaced with an F-series after I left the company, simply for greater utility as we normally had 24/32′ ladders on the rack (never helps MPG [~24] of course!) and loads of cargo (plywood esp) that are more readily handled by a truck.
            As to the Colorado being better or worse, who knows, but at least it seems to be getting positive reviews, especially compared to the earlier Colorados.

          2. Vairship Avatar
            Vairship

            We have had a 2015 LWB Transit Connect Wagon with 2 sliding doors and barn doors in the back for a few weeks now. Going through roguetoasters comments:
            Haven’t had a problem with knee vs center console, but I’d have preferred if the front seats could slide another inch or two back (I’m 6’2)
            Sliding doors stay open just fine on a slope only if you open them ALL The WAY, but then ours aren’t on a delivery vehicle so may have been abused less. Barn doors can be opened 180 degrees each, so a slope would help hold them open.
            No cargo floor cover, we have the rear two sets of seats folded down so they form the new floor, and put a blanket over that for the dogs.That DOES leave a slight gap between the third seat and the barn doors, which we filled with storage crates for storage of water bottle/drinking bowl for the dogs. The dogs weigh 80 lbs, 80 lbs, 110 lbs and 120 lbs, so the folded down seats are pretty strong.
            There is a massive dashboard top to suction-cup a phone to.
            Fuel mileage is about the same as my PT Cruiser (20/28), not unusual for tall boxy vehicles. Even the EcoBoost (available on SWB only) doesn’t seem much better, based on the stats.
            Engine/auto trans seem to work well together. Going uphill it does need to kick down and work hard (with two human adults plus ~400 lbs of dogs aboard), but keeping up with traffic is never an issue.
            AC has outlets available at each of the three rows of seats, and the rear two rows have a separate AC setting from the front seats. (This is unlike the PT Cruiser, which has no rear AC at all).
            Front passenger area is not as big as expected, due to big (lengthwise) dash and (common nowadays) wide center console, but as I said I’m still comfortable. Rear cargo area is huge (LWB), room for 4 big dogs with space for more.
            Front seats are comfy but don’t slide back or lean back very far.
            Overhead storage is handy for lightweight items (folding windshield shade for the giant windshield fits easily), but items may fall out (so no dumbbells or depleted uranium here)
            We bought an aftermarket storage pouch that hangs from the front headrests.

  11. JayP Avatar
    JayP

    Here we go.
    Behind a van/tall truck/SUV going 5 less than the speed limit… I hang on thinking there’s traffic ahead. No need to be a jackass and pass on the right? A few miles goes by and I give up. Make the move to the center lane and what do I see… MILES OF CLEAR ROAD AHEAD. NOT A CAR IN SIGHT!!! And the “driver” of the van/tall truck/SUV is doing everything BUT DRIVING!!! Chatting on the phone, picking their sinuses, playing soduku on the iphone, reading a novel, farding (look it up), shaving, eating spaghetti from a plate, curling their hair, using a breast pump, breastfeeding their baby, or just staring into oblivion.
    You couldn’t have cut me a break and moved to the right? Just a few feet? I’ll take care of the rest.
    What technology would I like to see? That top-down camera view that’ll give the Spy Hunter looking radar that would give me the eyes forward to drive around jackholes.

    1. Inliner Avatar
      Inliner

      Thank you for introducing the word farding to me.

  12. Inliner Avatar
    Inliner

    It frustrates me, but it doesn’t frustrate the hell out of me.

  13. Professor Lavahot Avatar
    Professor Lavahot

    My Civic’s too short to see through most cars anyway.

  14. Lokki Avatar
    Lokki

    Yeah, I hate these slugs too. I don’t mind Semi’s though as 99% of them are good drivers just doing their jobs and they drive predictably. I go out of my way to treat them decently. Here in annonymousville – a Major Texas City, Home to a great football, basketball, hockey baseball (Please God?) team, my pet peeve is the ‘surprised driver’. We will have four or five lanes of rush hour traffic and generally speaking slower traffic keeps right. However, there will always be some son of a moron who comes sailing up fast in a right-side lane only to have to slam on his brakes to avoid rear-ending the car in front of them. This surprise will usually inspire a decision to try to move left into my safety gap between me and the car in front of me in the left lane. It took me a while to learn to watch for them and speed up to to close them out. Better tailgating for a minute on my terms than having to slam on my brakes to avoid the bast- squeezing left. The guy you can’t see through is just a passive irritant, but these guys are working hard to piss me off .

  15. Citric Avatar
    Citric

    I drive a petite hatchback in a town populated by large pickup trucks. Being able to “look through” the car ahead just isn’t a thing.

    1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      Same here in Cowtown. And then the inevitable flooring when you try to pass them, whereupon one learns an RX-8 or GTI won’t take an Ecoboost F-150 in a drag race.

      1. kogashiwa Avatar
        kogashiwa

        I’m embarrassed to admit that that is pretty much the sole reason I want something faster than my IS300.
        As long as I can beat a Sierra Denali I’m good.

        1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
          The Real Number_Six

          For real – there are way too many seriously quick tall vehicles here.

      2. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        Stoplight drags are the only good thing about the 3.90 rear in our ’54 Ford. For the first 100 yards, the low ratio more than compensates for the very average output of the SBF.

    2. Fred Talmadge Avatar
      Fred Talmadge

      Heck when I drive my Lotus your petite hatchback is huge in comparison.

      1. Citric Avatar
        Citric

        If you’re in a Lotus you could probably look underneath some of the lifted stuff in these parts.

        1. Vairship Avatar
          Vairship

          Might want to add one of these flags though, to make sure the trucks can see you in their mirrors or under their hoodline. http://jokomisiada.pl/eng_pl_Flag-flag-on-bike-DISNEY-CARS-SP0160–8410_3.jpg

  16. Batshitbox Avatar
    Batshitbox

    Anxious, more than angry. Also this bugs me far more in slow and stopped traffic than in a moving lane. I really like to know what’s going on up ahead so I can plan an evasive maneuver.
    On the other hand, I draft big rigs and buses unabashedly.
    Now, any slow ass motherfucker that won’t use the turnouts on the Pacific Coast Highway to let a faster vehicle by, be they RV, EV or SUV, that burns my socks. ‘Cause I can see ahead of them around EVERY curve and I know there’s no one in front! The self absorbed, rubbernecking, anesthetized flibbertigibbets!

    1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      +1 use of “flibbertigibbets”. Best read with monocle inserted and cod-Southern accent.

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        Reminds me of Joe vs the Volcano. Angelica, played by Meg Ryan, refers to herself as a flibbertigibbet.

  17. nanoop Avatar
    nanoop

    It’s downright dangerous in parking lots when pulling out of a spot in between two darkly shaded MPVs. Driving by ear.

  18. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    In this case I’m pretty sure that there is another car in front of him and probably dozens if not more in front of them.

  19. NapoleonSolo Avatar
    NapoleonSolo

    Yes. And dark tinted windows are a big part of the problem. In my state, most of these tinted windows are illegal, but it is seldom enforced.

  20. JRise Avatar
    JRise

    Is it annoying? Yes. Cannot plan my driving.
    Leave some extra space? Yes.
    ..unless I have to get close to read a strange slogan for the company owning/operating the vehicle.
    “At least we try” on this Estonian truck sounds more like a poor excuse for not doing it right?

  21. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
    dead_elvis, inc.

    Yes! And for much of the last couple of weeks, and at least a few more days, I’m operating one of those tall, view-blocking rigs – a ratty-looking ’88 Fleetwood Rallye (on a Chevy C30 platform) from southern Vermont to Seattle. As this thing is happiest going no more than 55, I’ve tried to be extra conscious of traffic stacking up behind me. Fortunately, US 2 has been relatively lightly traveled, and that’s about the biggest road I’ve been taking. Any opportunity to pull right and let anyone behind pass, I’ve taken it.
    And despite the command seating position, I’m still bothered by taller view-obstructing vehicles ahead!
    It’s been a mighty fine road trip so far. Even the breakdown in Algoma Mills, Ontario turned out to be fairly delightful, due to the characters I’ve met. And breaking down in front of a beer & smoked fish market wasn’t the worst place I’ve found myself stranded. (Failed stator plate in the distributor, if anyone’s curious.)

  22. Joshua Williams Avatar
    Joshua Williams

    Yes. Also, I find myself wondering what kind of “Emergency Service” they would need at the Jewel’s. “Hurry, the bakery’s out of M&M cookies and Mariano’s has Keffalotyri on sale for ten cents less than us!”

    1. Texlenin Avatar
      Texlenin

      Commercial sized Refrigeration repair, business electrical, hvac, register system.
      Some outfits find it cheaper to have all that stuff done in house.
      What is that Keffa stuff?

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