[I think the title says it all.](Should Hybrid Cars Make Noise to Protect the Blind?) IMO, Hybrids are not just dangerous to the blind but to anyone who can hear. A friend of mine almost hit a jogger who bolted in front of his Escape hybrid because she didn’t hear him driving up behind her. I saw the same thing on the local news today. As these cars become more popular I expect quite of few accidents. Yes, it’s the responsibility to look before you leap but it’s human nature to establish a sense of what is around us based on both sight and sound.
What say you? If the answer is yes then what kind of noise would it be. I say yes and would like it to be something pleasant versus irritating (but it needs to be distinct).
It needs to make some kind of engine noise, car noise, or beeping (although that would get annoying in a hurry). I wouldn’t care if it sounded like a fucking Singer sewing machine- I just want to be more aware that it’s there and moving… :mad:
The Prius does that while backing up…but only on the inside. Given how eerily quite those can be while idling, and how hard it is to see anything behind you (the camera only does so much) I would totally support an exterior backup beep.
The problem is not you hitting someone you don’t see, it’s someone walking or riding in front of you. The likely scenario is a residential area where streets are short. A person looks around, sees nothing and shortly thereafter crosses the street. In the meantime a hybrid turns onto the street and silently moves down the road.
Either way, I’m still not sure what the point of an interior-only beep is. It annoys the driver and doesn’t do anything to let the people around know that hello, the car is about to move. And if you have the base model (with no camera) it will be hard to see what’s behind you, because the back window sits pretty high.
If bicycles weighed 2,000 pounds and traveled silently at 30mph on residential streets, people would probably want sounds on them as well.
While people should be smarter about streets, there is reality to consider. Hybrids are new, we have developed our survival strategies based on non-hybrid cars. Artificial road noise is a trivial change to make, and could theoretically save a few lives. I’m not really that much of an advocate for it, but it’s not a completely ridiculous response to these incidents.
Are all these cars built without horns? People step out in front of cars and trucks all the time. Frankly unless you’ve got a really old or poorly tuned car the amount of noise they make on a city street is rather minor.
Speaking as a life-long professional pedestrian, I have never relied solely on my hearing when crossing the street. I used to read while I walked (not so much any more), but I still managed to maintain enough visual awareness of my surroundings to realize when I was approaching an area where vehicular interaction was possible, at which point I would stop reading.