The Car Periscope

Did you see that episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where they installed a periscope on Larry’s car, so he could see over the top of traffic, making it possible to zip through stop and go traffic?

Well, I’m not so sure about that idea. But what about you? What common sense easy to implement improvement would you have likeed to see designed into your existing car?

For me, the single biggest improvement I’d have like designed into my early 90’s Corolla would be better interior lighting. I think the car’s interior should light up bright as day if I want it to. Why not? What’s a big deal? A couple more light bulbs? Haven’t they heard of florescent lights there at Toyota? If I drop a quarter and need to find it so I can pay the bridge toll, why did the Toyota designers make it so difficult to find the quarter? What’s with the dim interior lighting provided by today’s car’s designers?

I love more lights too. So much so that I have added on many.
Like ;
under the dash corners to light the foot wells.
under the front seat for rear foot wells.
Third row dome/reading lamp.
two more cargo area lamps.
under hood lamp.
lamps on the door frame to light the ground and entry area when door is open.

If the roof light were really bright it could interfere with the drivers vision.
Liability for the car maker.
Better to have distributed light as Ken suggests.

I was watching an old Seinfeld re-run the other night, and what do you know, Kramer mentioned the car periscope idea way back then. The idea on last season’s Curb was a repeat of Kramer’s idea!

I stuck this into the dome lights of my MR2. It’s fantastic. Very bright when the door’s open or I turn the dome light on. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a capacitor, so when you start the car, the lights flash a couple times.

I think a periscope is a great idea and have been thinking about it for a couple of years. I like the backup cameras on new cars too.

I don’t know why exactly but I’d like to have a button to push to turn on the rear camera. I’ve wanted to look in back of me a couple times while driving but it only turns on while backing. Would be especially nice while pulling a trailer.

With a periscope, I’d be worried people would be looking through that all the time to see what’s ahead.
How would they be able to text or do facebook updates, let alone drive and not hit anybody?

I have had cars with under dash lights at the corners, but I don’t remember what car.

I don’t quite understand why car manufacturers don’t make the internal lighting (map lights, dome lights, etc) smart in that it switches to red when outside lighting is low so it doesn’t kill your night vision.
When the car is running and you open the door, have the dome light be red. If the car isn’t running and you open the door, it will be white - that sort of thing.
Seems like a simple thing to implement.

Green is actually the best for night vision. Studies have consistantly shown the retina to be more sensitive to green than any other color. It is not by accident that military night vision systems produce green images.

TSM- very interesting! I learned something new. I always thought red was better but your post made me go looking. Interesting reading. Most talk about light intensity being more of a factor than the color but at the same time say that the eye is more sensitive to green and therefore the intensity can be lower. Another point made is that green light makes it easier to read the red lined aviation prints in a dark cockpit…cool. Thanks for sharing!

You’re welcome. I wish the geniuses that designed my instrument cluster (orange) had done THEIR homework!

From back in the days watching my uncle develop sheet film:
Panchromatic film (which is sensitive to all colors) can be inspected briefly during development with a dim green light.

Is this thread still about easy improvements that should have been in my existing car? … cause I have a whole list. I’ve always been irritated that my $300 phone is smarter my $30,000 car. You know, my phone has an ambient light sensor, and automatically adjusts screen brightness…

I’d like a pneumatic starter on my pickup. Better cold starting, and the air tank could be easily retrofitted with an air chuck for tools.

@meanjoe75fan … great idea … and how about a manual crank starter like on Model T’s, as an emergency backup, for those times when the battery is almost dead, or when the starter motor or starter relay is on the fritz? I hate being stranded, it can be dangerous too being stranded, and a crank starter would do the trick to get the car started and get you back on the road sometimes in an emergency. I’d sell it as a safety feature. Of course, maybe that is why no car company employs me! lol

Well, I think this post started about a periscope. I would live to have one. If I had an old car, I probably would build one and install it myself.

I was on my way to the movies and I got stopped in one those DWI roadblocks we have here in Calif. A friend and I were going to the movie, and we missed it due to the roadblock delay of 35 minutes. If I had one of those car periscopes, I’d have asked my passenger to use it to keep an eye out for roadblocks ahead, and she could have seen the roadblock coming through the periscope, and we could have easily avoided the 35 minutes of our lives lost to copper-caused ennuie, and missing the movie to boot.