Should Hybrid Cars Make Noise to Protect the Blind?

And now imagine rush-hour traffic-jam full of cars, every single one emitting custom sound. Cacophony of beeps, growls and whooshes. Just like ringing mobile phones, only constantly and all at the same time…

Seriously, that’s one of the stupidest ideas ever. All cars are equipped with horns and electric vehicle is as loud as internal combustion vehicle when coasting. Since we didn’t install bells on the latter, I can’t see a reason to do it on the former and turn our cities into even more noise-polluted nightmares than they are now.

And I just know that it will be extremely popular, especially when the most annoying people discover that they can just mute the sound when driving past a police officer. It will be called… drivetones.

Why not just duct tape a harmonica to the tailpipe?

That made me giggle. :slight_smile:

Do hybrids even have enough emissions to power a harmonica, anyway?

All you really gotta do is put baseball cards in the spokes with clothespins. :wink:
As a cyclist I use my ears a lot to keep track of traffic around me, some sound would be helpful (Please, Jeebus, not beeping!) That said, I’ve seen a lot of joggers and cyclists wearing headphones, so it doesn’t really matter if you’ve got an engine make putt-putt-putt noises.

ETA: I look carefully anyway. The rest of traffic makes so much noise that sometimes it’s hard to hear the quieter vehicles.

That’s why many cyclists use bells.

I do think cars should make enough noise so you can hear them approaching. Not all do.

Actually, now that I think about it. I like the idea of cutting down on noise polution in generall. I live downtown and it’s always loud.

Given that streets and sidewalks also have bicycles, rollerbladers, dogs with long leashes and other nearly silent hazards, wouldn’t there be a greater advantage to having some kind of “proximity device” for the visually impaired?

My dad use to have a gizmo for measuring distance. You’d point it at the wall, hit a button, it would display a reading telling you how far away the wall is. It was very accurate too. That was almost 20 years ago. Surely by now, the technology exists so that you can wear a smaller version of the device like a wristwatch and take a 360[sup]o[/sup] reading to warn you of stuff that’s moving in your direction.

No, it is actually to alert the driver that the car is moving backwards. The cars are so quiet, they don’t want the car moving without the driver realizing it. Seriously. :rolleyes:

As I said in the electric car thread, they should make the sound of the flying cars from the Jetsons, as heard here: Jetsons intro.

I drive a Prius, and I have found that I have become more vigilant about backing up into pedestrian areas because my car is so silent. Also, when I am a pedestrian, I have trained myself to not just base my movement on sound, but also on visual cues.

I don’t think the car needs to make a noise (I agree the world is noisy enough already, goddamn it) I just think everyone (drivers AND pedestrians) need to pay attention!

(I also was able to disable the internal beep so that I didn’t end up in the loony bin.)

Why not give new cars the ability to send out a silent signal that can be detected by cheap hardware? The public at large could then enjoy some relative quiet, and joggers / blind people could purchase inexpensive earbuds that would play a tone of their choice upon detecting an approaching vehicle.

Dangit, looks like Swallowed My Cellphone beat me to the general idea.

Yeah, something more universal that uses motion detection, that way you can minimize collisions with moving things that don’t emit a signal to the RadarWatch[sup]tm[/sup]. So it would work for anything bigger than a breadbox and warn you of anything that is moving towards you whether it’s a car, bike, dog, or out-of-control toboggan.

This is actually a problem. I’ve seen a person exit a hybrid only to have it start moving.

It’s not that the gas engine is quiet in a Hybrid, it isn’t running at all at slow speeds. It’s like an electric golf cart.

I was thinking about a Fran Drescher sound bite of her laughing. Not only would people be able to hear it but they would veer away from the sound.

I turned mine off. It was really annoying. HOWEVER, although I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, I sometimes start to leave the car before I realize it’s still on and in some cases, in drive. It’s the combination of just the fob in my pocket the whole time to start the car as well as I’m still not used to a power on/off button.

I’ll also admit that there’s something very satisfying about gliding down 3 floors in my parking ramp at work and the only thing heard is the tread of the tires.

Hmmm…Then I vote for either the Jetson’s car noise as mentioned above, or the sound of Pac Man eating dots.

Given the number of potential Darwin Award candidates who stepped out in front of my 20,000 pound armored truck when I worked downtown - despite the big 500 horsepower diesel - and often the fact that I had a green light…

I don’t think any noise is going to make that much of a difference for anyone but the blind, who have an excuse for not being able to see the vehicle.

But just in case, let’s make them all sound like Ice Cream Trucks. Ok? :smiley:

I also vote for the Jetson’s car. It’s not very annoying.

And children who used to sit in carboard boxes and holding a frisbee like a steering wheel, pretending to drive and going: “Vroom! VROOOOOM!” can still play going: “Bibble-bibble-bibble-bibble…”

The world is too quiet! We need MORE NOISE!


You have been warned. :slight_smile: