Canada to Use Optical Illusions to Slow Down Speeding Cars

How do you get speeding drivers to slow down? The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Traffic Safety Foundation thinks a good idea would be to shock drivers by making them think there is a child in the street. The organization plans on painting an optical illusion on the road that will appear to pop-up a 3D image of a child so that drivers will slow down.

The BCAA plans on installing this illusion in school zones near elementary schools in particular to reduce the amount of reckless driving. David Dunne, of BCAA, said the idea of the experiment is to remind motorists to expect the unexpected when driving.

The image is painted on the road and elongated to make it appear three-dimensional when viewed from an approaching car at a distance of about 100 feet. The image disappears and looks just like a mark on the road when the driver is further or closer than the 100 feet.

The optical illusion campaign will cost $15,000 and will remain in place for a week. There will also be a sign alerting drivers to a traffic safety program in place ahead, saying “You’re probably not expecting kids to run into the road.”

As creative as this campaign sounds, it also seems to be dangerous as speeding drivers might not realize that it is just an image. What comes to mind is that a driver might slam on the breaks when he sees the image and might get rear-ended or swerve out of the way of the “child” and get into a real accident.

There is also the chance that during nighttime it will be harder to tell if the image is real or not and might lead to even more accidents. And last but not least, this campaign might prove harmful in the long run by training people to expect a child in the road to be a picture and might lead them to hitting a real child.

This experimental campaign is set to be up for only a week and will be removed right after. Feedback from police, parents and traffic engineers will be studied to determine if the experiment made any improvement to driver behavior and should be adopted in multiple jurisdictions.

(Via Physorg)

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  • Gregg

    Sounds interesting at first glance, but once people are used to it they’ll ignore it whether consciously or subconsciously — what happens then when there’s a REAL kid in the road? The human mind can be a tricky beast, in my humble opinion this idea could simply make people LESS observant on the road if nothing else. The first two or three times you’ll get a fright, sure, but after that you’re used to it.. then what?

  • Gregg

    Sounds interesting at first glance, but once people are used to it they'll ignore it whether consciously or subconsciously — what happens then when there's a REAL kid in the road? The human mind can be a tricky beast, in my humble opinion this idea could simply make people LESS observant on the road if nothing else. The first two or three times you'll get a fright, sure, but after that you're used to it.. then what?

  • Preventable

    Robert the blogger for Preventable.ca here. Thanks for all the attention, comments, and feedback on this campaign so far. For clarification on how the road installation works, please checkout our latest post – http://ht.ly/2BYTv

  • Preventable

    Robert the blogger for Preventable.ca here. Thanks for all the attention, comments, and feedback on this campaign so far. For clarification on how the road installation works, please checkout our latest post – http://ht.ly/2BYTv

  • Theanonymousopinion

    Yeah, this is a really bad idea. First you are using people’s mind against themselves (bad ethics), and as other commenter pointed out this will become one of those things drivers get used to and eventually decide to ignore, except sometime it will be the real deal and not the fake deal. Also, this might cause accidents, when people are not immediately aware of the illusion then become aware and slam on the brakes and swerve to avoid a fake kid, instead hitting a real car (or kid).

  • Theanonymousopinion

    Yeah, this is a really bad idea. First you are using people’s mind against themselves (bad ethics), and as other commenter pointed out this will become one of those things drivers get used to and eventually decide to ignore, except sometime it will be the real deal and not the fake deal. Also, this might cause accidents, when people are not immediately aware of the illusion then become aware and slam on the brakes and swerve to avoid a fake kid, instead hitting a real car (or kid).

  • Theanonymousopinion

    Also, (following from my previous post)… these optical illusions will become magnets for kids; just what you need… a kid magnet in the middle of the road.

  • Theanonymousopinion

    Also, (following from my previous post)… these optical illusions will become magnets for kids; just what you need… a kid magnet in the middle of the road.

  • Guest

    Wow this is quite possibly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in quite a while. First of all you’re talking about people who are speeding in a school zone. If they are not paying attention to all of the other signs what makes you think they will be aware that this is an illusion? Yeah, I know “a full risk assessment,” but you are talking statistics. Statistics won’t save you when you are talking about a negative sum game. How many children are you willing to kill to say you saved some? Even if the illusion saves ten kids over the next ten years, but one is hurt because of it, is that math you can live with? Can you honestly reduce human life that way? Do you think the parents’ of the one kid will see it your way?

    I live in a place where they thought it would be good to put physical obstacles in the road to get people to slow down. They think that by making the road more hazardous it makes people drive slower, and they are right. But they are still driving too fast for the conditions. Someone just rolled their car the other day to avoid one of the obsticles.

  • Guest

    Wow this is quite possibly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in quite a while. First of all you’re talking about people who are speeding in a school zone. If they are not paying attention to all of the other signs what makes you think they will be aware that this is an illusion? Yeah, I know “a full risk assessment,” but you are talking statistics. Statistics won’t save you when you are talking about a negative sum game. How many children are you willing to kill to say you saved some? Even if the illusion saves ten kids over the next ten years, but one is hurt because of it, is that math you can live with? Can you honestly reduce human life that way? Do you think the parents’ of the one kid will see it your way?

    I live in a place where they thought it would be good to put physical obstacles in the road to get people to slow down. They think that by making the road more hazardous it makes people drive slower, and they are right. But they are still driving too fast for the conditions. Someone just rolled their car the other day to avoid one of the obsticles.

  • http://www.hidelocktake.com/ Anti-theft Guy

    This is just really weird. This might give people a heart attack! There are other ways to educate a driver to stay safe on the road, but this is just not right.