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.