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Your calculated estimate may be about correct for the limiting magnitude of stars, but lots of what you might want to see through a telescope consists of extended objects-- galaxies, nebulae, and unresolved clusters. The magnitude estimates of these objects tend to consider them as point sources, but as extended objects they have much less of a contrast ...


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Your problems with shielding your eyes from light probably come because it is easy to shield them from direct light from the car lights, but hard to shield them from reflected car light coming from every angle. I suggest that you experiment with closeing your eyelids while shining lights at your face. I just tried shutting my eyes while looking at a light ...


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