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Old 08-03-2014, 01:33 PM
Mr.Kenny's Avatar
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Question about Panel wagons and Vans.

I am looking at a low priced Panel HHR; I drove it, but the lack of visibility seems like deal-breaker for me.
How do you back out of parking places or change lanes safely? You can't see anything over your right shoulder.
Other than it seemed confined as a coffin on the inside;..... hey, I think the panel version of most anything is cool looking.

It looks like this:


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Last edited by Mr.Kenny; 08-04-2014 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:14 PM
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YOu could always add a door on the right rear with a window. With the right mirrors I think driving one would be ok. But its a compromise probably not worth it if its only an aesthetic choice.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:09 PM
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You need a camera affixed to the passenger side mirror housing.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:50 PM
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hhrs have crappy visibility even with full windows. lots of work vans out there without the compromise on visibility. not as cool looking as that perhaps, but 10 times the space
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:26 PM
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Slap some of those round, stick-on blindspot mirrors on the existing mirrors.

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Old 08-03-2014, 05:31 PM
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1. With a vehicle like that, you're better off backing into spaces.

2. Get used to depending on your mirrors a lot.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:35 PM
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In professional driving classes they teach drivers of such trucks to always park in a pull-through parking spot. If no such spot is available then find one even if you have to walk a few blocks.

And if you have to park in a pull-in lot because there is nothing else then back in. The theory is that you are more aware of your surroundings when you first get there because you have a chance to look everything over before deciding which spot to slowly back into.

And for lane changing? Mirrors, spot mirrors and back up cameras.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:30 AM
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There's cheap back up cameras that mount to the license plate frame out there.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:01 AM
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That thing looks like a herse for midgets.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:00 AM
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Slap bigger mirrors on there (think old school f250) and you're fine. Backup camera is a nice luxury as well.

It's not impossible, you just need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. No different than driving a dump truck or service van.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:14 AM
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We use panel HHR's for service vehicles and I also drive a small pickup with a cap on it that creates the same effective blind spots.

I drive my work truck constantly, parking and pulling out many times a day and I have a couple rules:

Always back into parking spaces. If I can't back into a space, I run the windows down when I'm preparing to depart and back out VERY slowly listening and looking for traffic that may give a warning honk. People now days are VERY impatient and are much more likely to honk and roar past than to give you space to back out of a parking place.

The second rule of driving these type vehicles is that you always have to square up with an intersection so you can see out to the right. Many times, I have come to an intersection at an angle, been unable to see and have had to take a couple right turns in order to avoid pulling out blind.

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Old 08-04-2014, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions; but I think all of this is too much hassle, accommodation and potential danger for something I don't have to buy, nor will fit my needs.
Most importantly; my wife said she would never drive a vehicle with such a large blind spot during her commutes.
The dark "cargo area" is only 58" long 38" wide. My first impression is a coffin.

I drove an International Transtar II a lifetime a ago for an oil service company and had to park way out;...never back up alone....plan lane changes.

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Old 08-04-2014, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JB3 View Post
hhrs have crappy visibility even with full windows. lots of work vans out there without the compromise on visibility. not as cool looking as that perhaps, but 10 times the space
I rode in one once. Not much space in those things. Cool looking but impractical.

For my large Chev van, the stock side mirrors were too small so I found a couple of the rectangular ones about 12" tall and 5" wide at a boneyard and put a small fisheye mirror at the bottom on the passenger side.

Would look weird on the vehicle in question however.


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