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Road Safety ideas

  
Requested in Travel by a contributor
edited by Dreamer


16 Ideas

+2 votes

Road Rage Mood Changer

 

Just because you're crazy doesn't mean your car has to suffer.

 

The exercise bike I use has a pair of sensors built into the handlebars that measure my pulse rate as I'm cycling along and shows the rate on a small display screen. If the pulse rate goes too high a blinking heart will also appear on the display.

 

Driving home it occurred to me that I was holding the steering wheel pretty much the same way I hold the handlebars. It wouldn't be hard to design the same kind of pulse rate monitor on the underside of the steering wheel.

 

With the invention of a safety feature like that my car would have a chance to save itself if I lost my temper because some idiot cut me off. As I chased him down my pulse rate would start rising. At some point, say 175 beats per minute, a voice would come from the steering wheel telling me to knock it off. It wouldn't always say the same thing either. Sometimes it would try to humor me down, sometimes embarrass me down.

Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)

+1 vote
Phone-Controlled Traffic

A 6-month experiment aimed at speeding up traffic.

I was watching an animation the other night of cars traveling on a circular highway. It showed what almost everyone knows - that cars head into the jam faster than those leaving the jam, increasing the size of the jam itself. It also showed how changing lanes works on a similar principle to cause jams - the car you jump in front of has to slow down while the car in the lane you just left can't speed up as quickly as you do.

With that in mind, here's the experiment. Right now in California, among other places, they're monitoring the location of cellphones on the highway to help spot jams as they occur during rush hour. The same technology could be used to detect lane changing (your position would get noticeably out of alignment with the 2 or 3 lanes of traffic represented by the rest of the signals) and a temporary law would be enacted to ticket people who changed lanes more than 'x' number of times during rush hour. The tickets would automatically be mailed to the homes of those who owned the cellphones. If an accident was causing a jam so changing lanes really became necessary then the monitoring program would cancel all outgoing tickets for that time period. A 6-month trial should be long enough to see if this speeds up rush hour traffic. Sensors that already exist on many highways measuring average speed could be used to provide an objective evaluation on the merits of this idea.
Shared by a contributor
+1 vote

The C-1 developed by Lit Motors is a cross between a motorcycle and a car. It's light years safer than a standard motorcycle. It completely encloses the driver like a car but has two wheels like a cycle. In addition to the protection the frame provides the vehicle has a gyroscope at it's core that shifts weight so that it stays balanced and upright even after many types of collisions. Beyond that, the vehicle retrieves information about upcoming traffic and weather conditions and suggests routes that will minimize congestion.

Shared by a contributor
+1 vote
Cellphone Honker

When cellphones collide.

Since many areas refuse to ban the use of cell phones while driving we could at least make them safer by equipping them with a proximity warning system. The system would track the distance between a cell phone in an oncoming car versus any that were moving perpendicular to it. If the perpendicular phone kept moving so it would enter the path of the oncoming car a loud honking sound would be emitted into the earpiece of the cellphone being used by the perpendicular car. If they stopped moving the honking would stop and they could continue their conversation (assuming they didn't stop right in the path of the oncoming car). Phones that were being used by cars legitimately merging with traffic would need a more sophisticated algorithm to determine if the user was likely to cause a collision.
Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)
0 votes
Whenever you see a news story about a hurricane on TV there's always some footage of cars that tried to make it down a road where the water turned out to be deeper than they thought, leaving them stranded. This device would prevent that.

It would consist of 2 parts: one you hook on to your front bumper and one that you leave in your glove compartment until you needed it. When the need arose you'd pull the remote out of the glover and push a button. This would drop a rod down from the bumper device to the ground (it would have a small wheel on the end of it so it could roll). Once you reached the water the depth finder would look several feet ahead and compare the depth it found to the clearance under your car. If you couldn't make it a warning would flash on the remote. You could also turn the depth finder side to side to see if there was any way to make it down the road.

This device might be a little pricey but it would offer some major peace of mind to drivers who run into roads like this a couple of times a year.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
An improved railroad crossing... As the gate comes down a set of the same kind of metal teeth used to protect cars from being stolen at car dealerships should rise up out of the ground. No one would deliberately puncture all of their tires just to beat the gate. If that's too drastic then we could just add heavy metal wires to the gate itself. They'd hang against the gate when it was up and hang down from it when it was down. That way people would have to be willing to get their cars all scratched up if they wanted to beat the gate.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
A lot of highways in rural areas lack street lighting because it's too expensive to keep them on all the time when only a few cars go by in the middle of the night. We should take advantage of the technology we already have and create motion-sensitive street lights. The way they'd work would be pretty simple. At each mile marker a streetlight would be equipped with a motion sensor. If it detected a car going by it would alert another streetlight a mile away that a car was coming and that light would turn on all of the lights in the next mile-long stretch. The lights would stay on for a couple of minutes after a car passed so they wouldn't keep flickering on and off.

If there were no exits between the lights they could also make sure any car that entered the zone also left the zone in a reasonable time. When one didn't then the lights would stay on and a call would be sent to the nearest police car to  go find out what happened (automatic roadside assistance). The drawback to the second part of this idea is that the police could also use the elapsed time between lights to calculate speed and catch speeders. A design block would have to be engineered into the system to prevent the lights from being used this way (privacy rights could be used as an argument to build in the block).  Of course a cellphone would make the automatic assistance unnecessary but there are a lot of people, myself included, who don't have one. There's also the chance that in a lot of these rural areas people who do have them would find themselves in an area without coverage.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
Detour Dots

A bread crumb trail for those who are afraid to take detours.

When traveling through unfamiliar territory I tend to get a little nervous if I come across a detour. Especially if it's night and the roads aren't well-lit. The reason for this is that several times the detour has turned out to be inadequately marked, leaving me wondering how to get back onto the main road.

Detour Dots would solve this problem. Similar to Bott's Dots, these reflective dots would be laid down as needed by whoever's setting up the detour. A wheel on the front of their vehicle would grab a dot each time they pressed a button and slap it down on the road. The dots would have a sticky bottom to keep them in the lane they were put in until the truck (or police car) came back to pick them up. If they did something like this then I'd have a clear trail of bread crumbs to follow back to the main road, considerably easing my anxiety.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Thanks For the Warning Officer

Now could you be a little more specific?

I came across a traffic accident today and noticed something new (at least new around here). In addition to the flashing lights on the police car there was a row of yellow caution lights blinking in a row right below them. Now, one of the reasons for the particular jam that occurred this time was that people kept changing lines trying to guess which one was the clear one that would make it by the stoppage. It doesn't seem like it would be hard to come up with a bar of caution lights that could be raised on an antenna to a height several feet above the police car. The cop could then flip a switch and have the strip of caution lights become arrows pointing to the clear lane. That way people could find out a lot sooner and cause less confusion trying to guess which way to go. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have the same kind of system mounted on ambulances and fire trucks too.
Shared by TRK (1,600 points)
0 votes
Driving Through Storms

Sonar vision.

Driving through a thunderstorm on an interstate the other day where visibility was about 20 feet it occurred to me that it would have been a lot safer if I had a little picture screen that used a modified version of sonar to show where my car was relative to the cars in front of me. Since some people had chosen to slow down to 30 mph in the fast lane I could have seen myself approaching them much too quickly and slowed down accordingly (I'm thinking of something like a modified fish finder here).
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Blind Side Lane Lights for those of us with poor depth perception

There are a couple of highway junctions I have to drive through each day where 3 highways merge into one 5 lane road which then splits back into 3 different roads, one of which has a signal on it to stop traffic. All merging and lane changing takes place within a quarter mile and can happen at any speed between 20 and 60 miles an hour depending on how badly someone wants to cross a number of lanes and how good they are at doing it.

The problem usually comes up for me when I'm merging to one of the left lanes and someone in my blind spot two lanes over and a little ways back starts to merge into the same lane. Lane markers that could tell when a car was crossing into a lane and light up both markers for that lane for 20 feet in front of the car would let me know someone was trying to get into the same lane. When no one was changing lanes the markers would stay green. This would probably be a fairly expensive traffic control aid so I'd suggest installing it only in areas where there's a lot of merging going on and a high accident rate due to that merging.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Scarecrow Flagmen

While waiting for a flagman to turn his pole from stop to slow recently I began to wonder what it was that made him different from a railroad crossing gate. Two things came to mind:

1. He can move from site to site.

2. He can intimidate people into stopping when they need to.

Basically he's a portable gate with a mean face. If we pay the guy 8 bucks an hour to stand there holding the sign then that comes out to about 16,000 a year. It would be a lot cheaper to get rid of him and replace him with a portable crossing gate. This gate would be remotely controlled by the flagman who's controlling the other end of the street. A video screen on it would let him see how far the cars were backing up so he'd know when to raise and lower the gate. If we really thought we had to, we could make the screen big enough to let the first car in line see his face, retaining the scarecrow factor.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
Apply a layer of thermal coating to road surfaces that automatically heats up once the temperature hits zero or below.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Use smart paint for road markings that changes color according to the temperature of the surface, warning of the possibility of black ice.
Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)
0 votes
For road lines use glow-in-the-dark paint. During the day it would absorb the light and it could glow the whole night.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
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