Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cars are getting too quiet?

Scientific American has an article by Sarah Simpson, with a new worry about hybrid cars. You may not have begun to worry about this one yet. The question is, are hybrid cars too quiet to be safe for pedestrians? The article takes a "wait and see" posture. If you were reading my blog four years ago, you know that for me, car engines became dangerously quiet 56 years ago. With my passion for biking through intersections by relying on sound alone to tell me if they were empty, I was lucky to survive the quieter engines that Detroit turned out in 1952.

I'm over the hump on this issue. Bring on the quieter cars, and - maybe - quieter towns and cities as well.


Vern said...

As automobiles get even quieter, there's actually a pretty good solution for all of the problems that a soft car sound makes. Some people have already figured it out on accident: Loud, loud stereo, flashy custom rims and huge exhaust, even on hybrids. Problems solved!

The Precision Blogger said...

You have an excellent point. But you can't count on everyone to play a loud stereo. I won't, for one.
- PB

JG said...

In my pedestrial form, I have had numerous close encounters with the wheeled kind. Two of the worst invovled a prius (in the US) and gas guzzler (in Scotland). Before the latter, my host grabbed me by the back of my shirt and hollered "didn't ya mother raise ya ta look right before crossing?" In point of fact, she did not.

Belatedly, it occurs to me that Priuses must be very popular in Scotland. I think that I shall never return.

The Precision Blogger said...

I was once walking around town with my boss. I stepped off a curb without -- really -- looking. He said, "Remind me not to put you in charge of any more projects."
- PB