I can't see my car!

I have a 2005 Prius that I love. I’ve seen mention of this in a few reviews but haven’t been able to find any discussions on the subject to try to find out what other Prius owners think or how they overcome the issue. And the issue is this … because of the sloping hood, I cannot see the front of my car while I’m driving! I cannot judge the front corners of my car because I cannot see them. I consider myself an excellent driver, have driven trucks as well as cabs in NYC & L.A. and all kinds of other driving but, after years behind the wheel of my Prius I still can’t park efficiently or confidently, especially in narrow spaces, because I can’t see the front of the car. Does anyone else have this issue or am I the only one? What have you done to deal with it? I’m thinking of buying a set of old-fashioned curb feelers and installing them upside down on the corners of front bumper so I have some idea where the car actually ends. Any other suggestions out there? (Boy could that be a loaded question to Car Talk listeners!)

Dang! I meant to put this in General Discussions. Please forgive the cyber-faux-pas.

Perhaps you could have one of those rear-view camera or beeper systems mounted on the front instead.

Do you have a sunroof? If so, can you stick your head up through it when you need to get a better view?

There’s probably no room in the front corners of the car to install two of those old-fashioned power collapsing radio antennas, right?

I’ve driven several vehicles like that. The latest was the new Dodge Charger. It’s something you’ll have to get use to.

I remember how odd it felt to ride in one of the original VW Beatles in the '60’s. Eventually you get used to it. The front of your Prius doesn’t extend that far beyond the spot you can see.

I suggest getting some plastic garbage cans and practice parking between them. You can bump the cans with “no harm - no foul” and get your bearings on where the front of the car actually is in relation to the can.

I can’t see the front of my Civic either. More cars will feature this aerodynamic sloping hood so driver’s will have to figure out a way to judge the distance.

If you really need a guide a body shop can afix some plastic wands to the front bumpers that stick up enough for you to see. They’ll look awful, but perhaps it is worth it to you.

If you haven’t pranged in to something yet, chances are you won’t. Our mind plays a little trick on us when parking our vehicle, when it looks like we’re about to wack right into the car in the adjacent parking spot, we really have say, 1 1/2 or 2 feet of room to play with.

So when turning into a spot and a collision seems evident, you are down to about 2 feet of clearance so start correcting the other way.

Maybe somehow you could fasten a small fiberglass rod to stick up on each corner of the front. (much the way snow plows do…minus the flag) After time you will probably be able to remove them as you get a better feel for distance.

Many cars today are like that today, you can’t see the top of the hood through the windsheild, in fact I would say it’s been the norm for the past 15-20 years or so. You’ll get used to it. Everyone else has.

I would suggest doing the puzzle backwards. Go out in front of your house at 3:00 AM and pull out from behind a car (or substitute plastic garbage can) and see what you can get away with, and learn to use your side mirrors and geometry to back into a space. You can do some amazing parallel parking feats once you get used to doing this.

Have you tried sitting on a seat cushion?

This is normal in todays cars. I remember some years back when I got my first vehicle like this, it took some getting used to.

Doubleclutch made a good suggestion. Practice will make perfect.

Happy motoring.

Wow, thanks for all your replies … and so quickly. I guess I’m just going to have to practice with the plastic garbage cans (thanks, UncleTurbo & doubleclutch). If that doesn’t work I’ll go with my original idea, echoed here by some of you, of attaching something – wands, antennas, dowels … curb feelers – to the front bumper. A little embarrassing, but hey. And thanks for your input, too, skeptic2, but alas, even with my head touching the ceiling, I cannot see my hood. Again, thanks everyone. Going out to setup the garbage cans now, but if you see a Prius in Oregon with sticks on its front bumper you can point and say, “I think I know that poor schmuck.”

Thank you for the chuckle. I respect people who are honest enough to openly make necessary adjustments like “feelers” and approach them with a sense of humor. The ability to laugh at oneself is one of our most valuable gifts.

If I pass through Oregon and see you I’ll beep. I’ll be the old guy with the silly smile on his face.

Happy motoring.

Practice, practice , practice is the means of adaptation that the visually impared use.
Including a method you “able visioned” people could employ…points of reference.

Read the book ‘A singular view’ by Frank B. Brady. It is a great guide book that people with only one eye can learn new tacticts to adapt to the loss of stereoscopic vision, depth perception, and periferal vision.

Side points of reference can be used by you to calculate where the front bumper most likely is.

This is not a new problem. I remember cars of the 1940’s where the hood was much higher than the fenders and a person couldn’t see the perimeter of the car. Montgomery Ward, Western Auto, and other places sold fender guides. These were lighted and attached to the right fender and went on with the lights at night. I think that the Willys car brought on the market in 1952 advertised that you could see all four fender tips from the driver’s seat.

Hee hee, I had the same reaction when I had to rent a car while mine was in the shop…“Where the heck is the front of the car!!!How do I park this thing!!!” but I did get used to it and as another poster mentioned, when you think your front bumper is touching the wall, you have a couple more feet before it actually is. Funny thing is, people who have only driven newer cars and drive mine, ask"How the heck to you park this thing!!! The hood goes on forever!!" (Mine’s a '69 Buick, BTW) Good luck with the garbage cans!

I had that problem when I bought my 65 Chevelle. I’d been used to driving my Civic, where you can barely see the slope of the hood. Even being able to see the front of the car, I still had problems parking the thing sometimes.
My best trick was to have a block of wood on the floor of the garage, marking my front passenger tire, to indicate where I should stop the car. The block of wood was big enough to pretty much stop the car as I was idling into the garage.

You could also turn on the head lights. Then you will be able to gauge the distance in front by how sharp and bright the circle of light is on the other cars bumper. I use this method when driving a strange/new car. It works well for me. Of course it wont help out with backing up.

What you want are these things. Look at eBay, item number 330394769871. Just search for it in the usual search box. Yes, you will look like a guy who wears suspenders and a belt, but then again you have already decided that’s OK.

You got it! This is exactly what I was thinking of. Not sure If i need them to light up nor if the mounting brackets will work, but that will be an issue with any hardware solution. Thanks, wentwest. “suspenders and a belt.” Love it!