Monday, November 3, 2014


I'd like to see . . .


I spend a fair amoount of time in a car, and as I meander around "things" cross my mind.

Things such as

  • Oil pressure gauges
  • A windshield wiper control that ALSO turns on the vehicles' headlight and tail lights
  • A special frequency on the vehicle's radio that over rides all other frequencies when a siren is detected

In the "olde days," when Hector was a pup and I was driving my first car - a 1950 Oldsmobile 76, yes, "76" - cars had oil pressure gauges. Back then oil was supposed to be changed every 3,000 miles. Both oil and the vehicles in which it is poured have improved since, and now the recommend time-between-change is roughly 7,500 miles - long enough that many people "forget" it is time to change the oil AND the filter.

The last car I had with an oil pressure gauge was a 1990-something Jaguar XJ40 The car burned oil and I could watch the pressure drop as the oil was consumed. At a certain point, I had to stop and "top off" the oil with an additional quart (or two). (This was a "pre-Ford" Jag; Ford actually improved the vehicle during the few years it owned the brand.)

IT DRIVES ME NUTS to be driving in the rain when it's hard to see other vehicles because the vehicles lights are off. Most states' traffic laws require that headlights (and tail lights) be turned ON when visibility is reduced - such as when there is rain or fog. The lights may not help the driver see anything, but it helps others see the driver's vehicle.

I'd like to see a link between the windshield wiper switch and the light switch. When the wipers are activated (other than a quick swipe to clear the windshield from the morning dew), the lights automatically come on - and stay on until the wipers are turned off.

I'd also prefer that the wipers come from the top of the windshield rather than from the bottom. They could be tucked under a "lip" to protect the blades from sun damage and from snow/ice build-up in the winter. It would be really great if there could be a heating element under the lip to help melt off rime, but maybe that's asking too much.

SIREN OVER-RIDE We're driving down the road with the A/C (or heater) fan blasting and the radio or CD or whatever the media and coming upon your vehicle is an emergency vehicle, lights flashing and siren wailing.

Maybe the ambulance or fire truck is coming down a cross street as we near an intersection; it's out of sight, and since we can't hear it over the ambient noise in our vehicle, we go sailing into the intersection.

If our vehicle's sound system had a siren over-ride, when the siren was detected, say within a block of our vehicle, the siren's sound would over-ride anything coming from the sound system. The 1812 Overture - or Lead Zeppelin - would be over-ridden by the shoop-shoop of the siren of the approaching emergency vehicle.

Sirens would need to be tuned to a specific frequency (or frequencies) that the car's sound system would be designed to receive and initiate the over-ride.

Any one remember when different emergency vehicle types - police, fire, ambulance - all had unique-to-the-vehicle sounds? There was a time . . .

It would help if all traffic lights would go green in the direction of the emergency vehicle - in other words, if the emergency vehicle was travelling north, all lights on the north-south road would turn green (and all lights on intersecting roads would turn red). That already is being done in some communities.

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