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Backup Smoke

Because backup (reverse) lights don't always do the job.
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It can be difficult to determine another driver's intent to back out of their parking space. Particularly during the day, one might not be able to see the backup lights illuminate. If your view of the other car is blocked by a larger longer vehicle parked next to it, you might not see that it was going to move before it was already in your path.

The backup indicator's daylight visibility could be improved by emitting a puff of (maybe pink?) colored smoke from the rear of the car when the backup lights are activated.

half, Jul 14 2003

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       are smoke rings too difficult?   

       what is everyone on today, I want some whatever it is.
po, Jul 14 2003
  

       Same here, though I'd recommend against driving while on it - especially when all you can see behind you is pink smoke.
Worldgineer, Jul 14 2003
  

       does it *have* to be pink? plum might be nice.
po, Jul 14 2003
  

       Wouldn't this make it harder to see what you're backing into?   

       How about using those flags we used to put on our bikes? Triangular plastic on a fiberglass whip...   

       "I waited for that spot for half-an-hour before I realized it was just some guy with an overheated radiator!"   

       "I'm sorry sir, but you vehicle doesn't pass inspection. There's no smoke coming out the tailpipe."
phoenix, Jul 14 2003
  

       phoenix:
* Sensors would cut off the smoke when it's dark outside
* I considered the flag as another, less pedestrian and paint job friendly alternative
* Hence the colored smoke
  

       po:
A wide choice of colors will be available for a small fee.
half, Jul 14 2003
  

       As I've noted elsewhere, I firmly believe that *all* vehicles should be fitted with the backing up beepers that most buses and many trucks have. *Much* more effective than smoke, I think you'll find.
DrCurry, Jul 14 2003
  

       [/2] Instead of killing the smoke when dark, use lasers.
Worldgineer, Jul 14 2003
  

       if you worked in the noisy environment that I do, most noises go in one ear and out the other. but smoke, cough, gets, my, cough attention. funny I hear the birds and little else. my dad was fond of little else - sorry just remembered that .... ignore me..
po, Jul 14 2003
  

       "*Much* more effective than smoke." How much more? If I see a puff of smoke directly ahead of me, I know that there's a strong likelyhood of something being there that I need to pay attention to. The tone emitted by those beepers doesn't seem to lend itself well to determining the origin of the sound. With windows up, air-conditioner blowing for all it's worth (supposed to be 117 degrees here today), it's even tougher to figure out where the sound is coming from.   

       How about a compromise? Mandatory beeping and puffing for all backing vehicles.   

       Heh, lasers. Yes, [world], I like it. This idea wasn't quite ludicrous enough yet. Thank you. Now we're getting somewhere.
half, Jul 14 2003
  

       half, NO - you were right first time. puffs of smoke are so right!   

       lasers? who needs them? where's the romance in them?
po, Jul 14 2003
  

       What's not romantic and beautiful about a red laser line visible for about 1 foot behind a car ghostly illuminating a plum plume of smoke?
Worldgineer, Jul 14 2003
  

       Around here, parking is so hard to find, if you pause near a car with keys in hand, somebody stops, puts on their blinker, and waits for you to back out. Fun trick to play on people. No need for indicators, though.
oxen crossing, Jul 14 2003
  

       half: if you see a puff of smoke in front of you, you'll likely see the car backing towards you. You won't see a puff of smoke behind you, but you *will* hear the beeping, and know to look around.
DrCurry, Jul 14 2003
  

       And while I'm looking around for where the infernal beeping is coming from, I run in to the brand new little Mini that backed out from the other side of a Suburban where I couldn't see it. Had I been paying attention, I would have seen the puff of smoke and known that something was about to cross in to my path, ahead of me, in the direction I'm travelling. Curse you and your back up beepers. Now my insurance rates are going to go through the roof. And just look what you made me do to my wife's car. Now you are really in trouble, mister.
half, Jul 14 2003
  

       The problem with a puff of smoke is that it's no good unless it is actually seen coming out of the vehicle (and from the appropriate location on the vehicle). Which means all drivers in the area would need to be looking at the vehicle at that exact moment, which seems unlikely.   

       If you happen to glance up and just see the smoke there behind the car, you can't be positive it's back-up smoke. It might be a cloud of steam from the sewer grate below the car. If there are rear ends of other cars nearby, it would be very difficult to tell which one was the smoker.   

       Seems better to go with inflatable punchy clowns attached to the back bumper.
waugsqueke, Jul 14 2003
  

       My city is so polluted that the smoke you're talking about would have to be of a very noticeable color.   

       Actually no, no more smoke please.
Pericles, Jul 14 2003
  

       Heh, inflatable punchy clowns. I like that. Thanks for the laugh, [waugs]. But I'm not sure they'll be seen "If your view of the other car is blocked by a larger longer vehicle parked next to it".   

       The backup lights would still be there. Just like when adding a backing up beeper to a vehicle.   

       Say I'm driving down an aisle, cars parked on either side, looking in the direction that I am travelling, and a puff of smoke appears in my path from an as yet unseen vehicle, I believe that I could see that. What "all drivers in the area"? It's just me, about to smash in to the puny car that I couldn't see for the gigantic car blocking it.   

       I'd like the punchy clown things even better if they'd rapidly inflate and deflate as auxiliary turn indicators.
half, Jul 14 2003
  

       Pericles: aw, rats. I had you in mind for testing the prototype smoke emitter option that looks like a set of lips puffing on a cigarette: for people who smoke and aren't ashamed of it. :)   

       Pericles hits perilously close to the inspiration for this ridiculous idea. A car with 177,000+ miles and a recently gone bad valve seal and an owner just too stinking lazy and/or cheap to repair it. Stupid thing only lasted 20 years with no engine repairs, can't count on anything to last these days.   

       Hmm...any way to generate colored steam?
half, Jul 14 2003
  

       [half] Nice I got close to the inspiration of your idea. Well, not so nice considering the fact that I had to live in such a polluted city in order to come up with the comment AND that in addition to all that smoke coming to my lungs constantly, I'm still not ashamed of smoking.   

       Must be the brain damage the smoke has done to my brain.   

       Colored (and scented) steam sounds like a much nicer solution.
Pericles, Jul 15 2003
  

       You could always color it using lasers (runs and hides before [po] can smack him).
Worldgineer, Jul 15 2003
  
      
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