Vehicles | November 28, 2020 6:30 am

Why Haven’t More Cars Signaled Which Door Is Open?

It's the little things that make driving that much less stressful

Early 80s Honda Accord
This Honda Accord got something right that more prestigious cars did not.
Geographer/Creative Commons

If you’ve been a driver for long enough, you’ve probably encountered the sinking feeling that comes with the realization that one of your car’s doors is open. This is generally accompanied by a warning light or an alarm sound or, in some cases, both. And while it’s good to know that on of your doors is ajar, this system often leaves one crucial piece of information out of the mix: namely, which car door isn’t closed all the way.

This isn’t the case for all cars and trucks; some have come up with a system that alerts you to the fact that a door is open and specifies which one. In a new article for Jalopnik, Jason Torchinsky points to one automaker that was years ahead of the competition on this, and consequently made problem-solving for their drivers less of a headache.

That automaker was Honda. “While there may have been some cars that preceded the Accord with this innovation, Honda seems to have had it since 1976 on Accords and Preludes, making them a very early innovator,” Torchinsky writes. He notes that the 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow lacked the same alert that the same year’s Accord did, which is not a comparison one can make all that frequently.

Torchinsky also points out that this feature hasn’t been standard on most new cars fairly for long. “While over the years a good number of cars had similar displays in their instrument clusters, what I’m always amazed by is how many cars didn’t have such a useful little display, all the way up until quite recently,” he writes. It’s an interesting look into industrial design and usability, and the place where both overlap with your ride around town.