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AIBU to point out a new danger on the roads? <long and preachy>

(16 Posts)
PumpkInDublic Fri 19-Oct-12 15:13:24

Inspired by the cyclist motorist thread I was thinking about dangers and how unsafe roads can be for all users, including pedestrians. I think my car although greener is a new danger.

I drive a hybrid car. My car when running on electric is so quiet! DS is getting ready to walk to school alone, he knows it but once again we went over "Stop, Look, Listen", he said "But no one would hear your car Mam."

And he's right. I can hilariously sneak up behind DP and honk my horn when he's waiting for a lift at the side of the road if he's facing the other way. That is how quiet my car is.

I am always on constant pedestrian and cyclist alert when driving as I know these two groups rely on eyes and ears to be safe. I often have people stepping out, I never realised just how much we use our ears when crossing safely. I reckon I should probably start some sort of awareness campaign or demand cars like mine make some sort of noise (They add the smell to gas after all).

But until then, electric and hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular. I promise to always drive as if someone is about to step out, always, but please let your DC know that some cars are silent. And take care yourselves.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Oct-12 15:17:15

We had a Prius as a hire car on holiday in France, and were practically bumping into the backs of people's knees as they wandered out into the road in small villages - they had no idea we were there at all, from the lack of noise. I think there's been talk of adding a sound, at least an optional one, but I don't know if anything has happened about it.

FolkGhoul Fri 19-Oct-12 15:18:42

On the upside, perhaps pedestrians will rely less on being able to hear cars coming up behind them and might start turning round and looking instead...

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 19-Oct-12 15:19:21

Some cyclists hate them. One of my neighbours had a go at another for buying one. He said, "they kill cyclists, you know".

PumpkInDublic Fri 19-Oct-12 15:19:46

That's what I drive AMum. Plus in areas like 20mph outside of school the electric kicks in automatically, otherwise I would rather use the extra petrol and be audible.

I'm thinking of starting an awareness campaign locally (Ayrshire), perhaps with a road safety group.

ScreamyShriekyFrightyWoozyWooo Fri 19-Oct-12 15:23:29

I had no idea they were so quiet OP, thank you. I will be much more vigilant in future. I think an awareness campaign would be a good idea, as so many people do just rely on the noise of cars when crossing, especially on quiet roads.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Oct-12 15:27:42

Apparently in Japan you can get an option fitted to make sound - perhaps as well as raising pedestrian/cyclist awareness we should be putting pressure on manufacturers to offer this option here too. Or on government to make it a requirement?

EnglishEponine Fri 19-Oct-12 15:30:37

Thanks for this thread OP, I regularly rely on my ears to cross roads and I knew hybrids were quiet but I didn't know they were THAT quiet! Will definitely make sure to LOOK not just listen from now on.

DontmindifIdo Fri 19-Oct-12 15:39:41

I had heard that they were thinking of adding sounds, I believe here was some talk of being able to customise it - this then will lead to the annoying 'novelty' ring tones business model being applied to cars. Oh yes, there'll be someone driving past your house with the muppet theme tune/whatever's at number one/the imperial march/smug parental recording of their child saying "I love my daddy" over and over - we'll be missing those good old days of fumes and normal car noises...

drjohnsonscat Fri 19-Oct-12 15:41:06

I agree. I have a hybrid Honda Insight and for ages I wondered why people were just stepping into the road in front of me. It is quite dangerous. I wonder if they should introduce a fake noise to these cars - nothing horrible obviously and nothing as bad as engine noise but something to alert people (not so they can get out of my way! Just so it's safer).

It particularly happens to me when I'm driving very slowly down the back street to our office. It's very narrow and there are very few cars there anyway so pedestrians tend to walk in the street rather than on the pavement and I realised as I'm following them along the street that they have no idea a car is 2 feet behind them!

PumpkInDublic Fri 19-Oct-12 15:49:48

"I realised as I'm following them along the street that they have no idea a car is 2 feet behind them!"

YY! Then do you wait (which is what I've tended to do), peep the horn so they're aware and might be more aware in the future if the driver is not considerate or is distracted or, as I've been tempted recently, to stop, stick my head out of the window and shout excuse me please! grin

"we'll be missing those good old days of fumes and normal car noises..."
I think if we can balance the environmental side with safety we'll be on to a winner and a better planet for it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 19-Oct-12 15:56:06

YANBU but surely the onus is on the drivers to go a lot more slowly, use their horn more and make allowances for the fact that they can't be heard rather than bossily expect pedestrians to radically change behaviour. Bicycles present a similar problem.... one nearly killed a woman on the pavement outside a local supermarket ... but they don't tend to go so fast. 15mph restriction on electric cars in towns perhaps?

DontmindifIdo Fri 19-Oct-12 15:57:02

Pumpkin - you say that now, but wait until you're stuck behind someone who's got the crazy frog tune blasting out of their car....wink I think this is something we should resist, silent cars - we'll get used to it as they get more popular; customised tunes coming out of them - that's one step closer to the end of civilisation.

MrsApplepants Fri 19-Oct-12 15:57:54

Thanks for this OP, had never considered the quietness of electric cars. Will watch out!

EduCated Fri 19-Oct-12 16:08:07

YANBU, we have a lot of electric vehicles on site at work and there's been a lot of near misses. It's very disconcerting to suddenly realise there's a whacking great car behind you confused

And I think it requires joint responsibility between drivers to make sure their aware of how quiet they are and the impact o this, and on pedestrians to realise they can't necessarily rely on hearing alone.

PumpkInDublic Fri 19-Oct-12 16:17:08

Agreed Cognito, but if I'm tootling along at 15 and someone steps right on front of me leaving me no stopping distance, what happens then? I can be so so careful, I cannot change the law of physics. Road safety is everyone's job, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

People tend to react badly to horns, I think it's seen as aggressive so I'd be wary of using that more, certainly towards pedestrians. (I did the other day and the drunk men came and banged on my car on the side my DS was in). I think the bikes having bells is less aggressive so when cycling I tend to use it more than I would my horn.

I'm really not out to blame pedestrians here, I walk to town (2 miles) and DS is about to start walking to school himself. These cars seem to be here to stay and unless the manufacturers wake up to the dangers of silent cars I just want to make people aware there is a huge silent two ton metal danger creeping round.

I swear I watch so closely, driving past parked cars has me on uber alert. I'm not saying pedestrians should radically change behavior, I've adjusted mine as a driver and a pedestrian and am teaching my son accordingly. We teach stop look and listen, and it just isn't relevant in some cases.

Dontmind I'd prefer it was something recognisable as a car, even playing an engine noise out the front would do me!

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