Electric cars should go "vroom"

$0 - B

Tim

Creative Writer
The question of safety for pedestrians and other road users is still alive and kicking.

Should electric cars be made to go 'vroom'?

It ends by saying that current research will decide what the traffic on our roads sound like 20 years from now, but I wonder if it is 5 years from now that things will change?

Anyone who has seen the recent film, The Dilemma, will have come across the premise of manufacturing of a luxury cars noise. There may be regulation needed.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
This concept of creating a noise for safety is silly.
I say if we have the ability to make cars quiet, do it.
If we could make airplanes quiet wouldn't we do so?
Would we build a factory that puts out artificial smoke?
I think people need to pay more attention to their whereabouts anyway. If you get hit by a car because you didn't hear it coming you shouldn't be out in public. A deaf person isnt likely to get run down in the street because they pay attention to their surroundings.
To me this whole argument is silly!
 

Tim

Creative Writer
The issue is that pedestrians sadly need something there to help them. Remove all sound from vehicles and you'll see a massive increase in death and injuries on the roads. Try cycling along the road with ear plugs in and having cars shooting past you from behind and see if you can keep a firm grip on your bars and cycle in a straight line! I've experienced newer, quiet cars and it's quite dangerous.

In fact, watch pedestrians when you cycle down the road pass them and they decide to just walk out into the road because they cannot hear a car coming. This is why we've had to start fitting bells to bicycles, pedestrians are just evolving backwards. It's now law here to fit bells to production model bikes.

Kids need the sound too. Before puberty kids can't be trusted to cross a road on their own as they have less than adequate spacial awareness. They don't "see" how fast a vehicle is moving towards them.

The Green Cross Code would be a little silly too: Stop,Look, (It's pointless to) Listen

Deaf people rely on other senses that healthy people do not have to rely on with their hearing there. It's natural therefore to require sound for healthy people. When cochlear implants get offered wholesale to deaf people, they'll have to suddenly relearn new ways of dealing with traffic on the roads.

It's just human nature and we have to make considerations for people. Every piece of safety research done so far suggests sound is needed. The question now is what should they use.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
If a noise is really needed, which I disagree with, then why not go with the cheap solution of coming up with a version of the 'deer whistle' but tuned for a range that humans can hear?

Amazon.com: Bell Automotive-22-1-01000-8 Bell Deer Warning Unit, Black, PR: Automotive

They are cheap, are air-activated so no power is needed, and easy to make. I don't know how often they are found outside of the US, but at least here in the NE US where deer are a problem, deer whistles are a pretty common on vehicles.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
I once knew a guy that could tell you what kind of tires were on a car by listening to the noise it made on a certain stretch of road.
The whistle idea is bad because who wants a high pitched noise everytime a car b goes by? Tread design could be quickly changed to produce a noise that would be constant as long as the car is moving. Someone somewhere did an experiment with rumble strips to produce music at a certain speed. New Highways in the US are being fitted with rumble strips in the center and edges to awaken sleepy drivers.
Tread changes could induce a low rumble type noise that could alert pedestrians of oncoming traffic. You also would have a horn for those really persistent circumstances. If all that fails you might have a steering wheel you could say... turn to avoid obstacles like pedestrians in the roadway...
 

Tim

Creative Writer
The tyre issue is knocked out by the new Ford Focus sold over here. To achieve practically 80mpg (our gallon, 4.5 litres) it is using tyres with less grippy treads. Aside from the safety issues this introduces with turning at higher speeds on dirty roads, there is also lower sound for pedestrians to take into account as a result.

Also: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/stand...-crossing-roads-after-mayor-slashes-budget.do

This research proves something must be done to save children as it is.

And we're back to the logical conclusion that some sort of sound has to be used, but it needs regulation to avoid noise pollution issues, or pedestrians simply not naturally associating the noise some manufacturers come up with, with road vehicles.

We have rumble strips of road approaching roundabouts to ensure drivers slow down in time. We also have them at the side of motorways but they have been misused by truck drivers watching dvd's. Some drivers have been placing their vehicle on the shoulder strip continuously whilst they watch their films and when they notice the lack of rumbling they know they have to adjust the steering wheel to keep going straight.!!! Talk about abuse! They stick at their designated speed limit and know nothing in the slow lane is likely to travel slower than them. Pedestrians are not allowed to walk across motorways here, but some do, large animals occasionally come onto the motorway, and broken down cars in the breakdown lane can be hit by these trucks killing them instantly. Again human nature causing people to do bad things.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
... Pedestrians are not allowed to walk across motorways here, but some do, large animals occasionally come onto the motorway, and broken down cars in the breakdown lane can be hit by these trucks killing them instantly. Again human nature causing people to do bad things.
We're back to throwing a $0.25 plastic whistle on the front of the car; one stone, two birds. ;)
 

Tim

Creative Writer
Yep, but it'll cost billions of £'s to go through the legal process to decide on the shape, size, noise style, volume, and maybe even colour of that cheap device to be used with a qualifying stamp on it!!!
 
The rise of the electric car presents a rare opportunity to tackle the persistent roar of traffic that many city dwellers are used to. Electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles are inherently quiet. The sound of the tyres on the road is noisier than the engine and this could prove lethal at slow speeds for pedestrians and cyclists. The challenge is to create sounds that are as safe as possible but also ones that are much more pleasing for the urban environment.
 

Tim

Creative Writer
Quiet electric cars 'pose no danger' to visually impaired

Well, looks like it's a mute point (geddit?) for us in the UK as our government is going to state artifical noises aren't needed after some research:

a study commissioned by the Department for Transport will warn that "careful consideration" needs to be given to the "challenging" idea of adding artificial sounds, because it risks having little impact against general background noise.
 
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