# Range of vision - short and tall drivers

Page 1 of 2
• posted on January 16, 2010, 7:46 am

Folks, I posted this on a math group but nobody answered. I suspect that the engineers, etc. on this NG can take this one on..
I am in a discussion with one short (4'10") and one tall (6'2") driver about range of vision. The short stuff is always getting paint and dings on all 4 corners of her sedan because, she complains, she can't see because of her height. The tall driver argues this is hooey,; short is just not a careful driver. Short argues that tall doesn't account for how much further he can see than her.
I said I would try to find out whether there is a formula for calculating how far a person of "x" height can see from the driver's seat. Of course there are many variables: Whether the subject is short-waisted or long-waisted. Length of neck. Height of car seat. Height of pillow. Vision - good or needs correction. Etc.
Can one derive a formula?
TIA
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 8:40 am
It will vary drastically with the size of the car, position of the seat etc., but it certainly is harder for shorter drivers. In case you haven't realized this (it's not obvious from your post), it's not a matter of the taller driver being able to see FARTHER, but being able to see CLOSER to the sides of the car.
That doesn't necessarily mean that she isn't also careless...
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 12:30 pm

If you could derive a formula, the insurance companies would have done so long ago and raised premiums for short people.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 1:47 pm

The short person is careless and is using height as an excuse. You can sit on a booster of some sort and learn to judge distance from their perspective. Fact is, most cars are designed today, that it is difficult for anyone to see the rear corners from the rear window or the mirror. Bt that is no excuse to bash into something if you are too lazy to learn to judge distance.
Other aids are available, such as parabolic mirrors, curb feelers, and mounting corner guides. Take a look at a snow plow that had a flexible rod standing up on the corner so the driver can tell where the end of the blade is. Pedals can be extended if the driver is sitting on a raise seat. Too lazy and too cheap are the problem, no height.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 12:32 pm

So the driver is a road hazzard. The driver that hits things shouldnt drive anymore. Being short is no excuse, sit on a pillow if height is the issue.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 12:42 pm
Higgs Boson wrote:

With very rounded profiles, a lot of cars might be difficult for a short driver. I did a Google search for '"safe driving" "seat height" ' and got some interesting hits.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 1:17 pm

drop the subject and ignore future dings. :-) Mike PS. The car is an extension of your body, but with this extension you only know where it ends by sight. Short doesn't have as good a view as tall.
PSS. My short is (4'7") and no dings here.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 2:01 pm
Higgs Boson wrote:

My last two cars have had rear spoilers. That helps a bunch for the rear vision. There are after market versions. How about fake (decorative) antennas for the front end? I know there are some that fasten with double sided tape. Maybe there are some that use magnets instead.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 2:15 pm
Higgs Boson wrote:

Man can adapt, woman on the other hand...... Sorry, couldn't help it.
Hows about the little short guy driving an aircraft carrier or a 747. If you know your vehicle and it's characteristics, why would you have a problem? Tank driver comes to mind, no, not a Buick.
TDD
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 2:36 pm
Higgs Boson wrote:

The tall driver is a guy, the short driver is female. That explains it...
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 3:36 pm
Higgs Boson wrote: ...

Of course altho it has to be mostly empirically calibrated to the individual car/driver.
The closest one can see (w/o artificial aids) is the continuation of the straight line between the height of the eyes and the highest obstruction in the line of sight. Clearly the higher the sight point relative to that the closer to the vehicle the sight point is.
I'm not going to try to do ASCII art; it's too painful but one can see the essence by drawing two triangles where the base represents the ground level, the height is the intersection of the location of the viewing point and the dash or other obstruction say and the hypotenuse is that line extended. Make a second hypotenuse going thru that point and intersecting w/ the height of the other driver and extend that to the base as well. The distance between those on the base is the advantage of the taller viewpoint to the ground; the same ratio holds for any other point only the distance is somewhat reduced as the object is taller.
It's only some trig to work out the actual formula altho simply using the ratios for sample subjects would be the quicker.
--
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 3:45 pm

Have her sell the car and buy a motorcycle. Problem solved. ww

<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 8:15 pm
On 1/15/2010 11:46 PM Higgs Boson spake thus:

Randy Newman answered this, and related questions a long time ago:
"Short people got ... no reason to live."
--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

- a Usenet "apology"
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 8:31 pm
Higgs Boson wrote the following:

road directly in front of the car's hood (bonnet). A short person can probably not see the license plate (licence tag) of the car in front of her at a stop. And if he/she is really short, the steering wheel is in his/her field of view, and the Sun not being blocked by the lowered sun visor. .
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 16, 2010, 11:10 pm
Higgs Boson wrote:

My formula is to always agree with the female.
I might get lucky.
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 17, 2010, 9:14 am

I would tend to agree with Hey Bub.....that would be my pragmatic side
my totally un-PC self thinks perhaps .........its NOT a height thing. Maybe its a chromosome thing?
which reminds me of a really un-PC joke told to me YEARS ago....Why couldn't Helen Keller drive very well?
As a practical matter...get "the short one" a booster seat?. Or mod the seat frame?
My g/f 35 years ago drove a 65 Mustang. The driver's seat adjustment, even when completely forward, she was shy of easily reaching the pedals (she was 5' 3 1/2"). I made a seat track adapter that placed the seat 3" closer to the wheel. I could still drive fine with the seat further back. Actually at full rearward (with the old installation) I couldn't reach the pedals either. So the 3" shift was fine for the 6'+ crowd as well.
OP-
Good luck. I don't see any upside here.
cheers Bob
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 18, 2010, 1:08 am

Got another one for ya:
A foursome of engineers (what else?) was golfing when they came up behind another foursome that was playing through veeeeeery slowly. One of the engineers hunched up to the driver of the golf cart and hissed at him "Whatthehell...your guys are holding everybody up!" Driver said "Shhh!...they're blind!". "Aw shit", blurts the engineer, "Why can't they play at night!".

Uh, I don't want to get too far in the middle of this, but she says she uses a seat cushion. Started to look into modifying pedal, but was afraid it might slip, or something...

Sounds good, if done VERY carefully.
However, one is supposed to sit at least 10" from the wheel for air bag safety, which could be a problem for pregnant female, and especially for small female, pregnant or not, if they have to sit too close to the wheel.
Like I said, I'm staying out of it; my main interest was to derive a formula, and one of the respondents did post sort of a formula.
Also, there may be something in what a couple of respondents have said (more or less snottily <g>) about the 4'10" needs to work on her distance perception.

I'll try to find a way to mention the seat track adapter without getting into it between them.
TIA
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 18, 2010, 3:10 am

Yep.
There are so many variables that you can't mess with, and others that you shouldn't, that it makes any calculation nothing more than mental exercise with no value whatsoever. The most important variable and the only one that makes an appreciable difference, is the driver's comfort and confidence level.
R
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 19, 2010, 6:18 pm

re: The tall driver argues this is hooey
Here's way to test the sight lines and prove to him that she is right, but only in one regard:
- Take a bunch of sticks and paint the tips in bright colors but don't tell the drivers what colors you used. - With the driver seated behind the wheel, hold a stick at each corner of the vehicle and raise it slowly until the driver can tell you what color it is.
I'm sure you'll find that the taller driver can see the tip before the shorter driver can, which proves it's harder for her to see the corners of the vehicle.
That said, she is still at fault. Her height, while maybe an *excuse* for all the dings on the car, does not relieve her of any responsibilty for the damage. If she's too short to drive safely - or just *can't* drive safely - then she shouldn't be driving.
Driver: "Your honor, it's not my fault that I hit that kid. I'm short."
Judge: "Well, that just means less material will be used to make your prison clothes."
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on January 19, 2010, 7:24 pm
news:397bc611-6bcf-4c90-b23f-

Agreed, but it's an easy fix. My 85 year old mother says she's 5' but she's nowhere near that tall. Until the most recent vehicle, every car she's ever owned had the front bench put up on blocks and pushed all the way forward. Anyone else sitting in the front seat had to eat their knees and hunch down to keep from smacking the ceiling. It worked just fine for her. She now has a Toyota which has a seat which can be automatically moved up and forward enough for her to be where she should be in the seat.