What roads will be like when self-driving cars take over
That’s the year experts at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress believe self-driving – or at the least semi-autonomous – cars will proliferate our roads. Last week, The Detroit News reported that Christian Schumacher, head of Continental Automotive’s advanced driver assistance systems for the NAFTA region, told a panel discussion that “2025 is the time frame where we see cars driving themselves.”
So there you have it – 2025. That’s the year your car transforms from being a vehicle you drive from Point A to Point B into a new sentient being. That’s the year we finally beat distracted driving. How? By giving in. By making it easier for us to be distracted. We won’t need to pay attention to the road because our smart semi-autonomous cars will pay attention for us.
When our cars are fully autonomous, we’ll be free to wallow in our distractions. We won’t beat ’em, we’ll join ’em. Our eyes will be at liberty to read texts and scan e-mails. Why? Well, once we’re released from the chore that is driving, we’ll be able to devote our attention where it belongs: to the full-time pursuit of buying things. We won’t be drivers. We’ll be consumers. A humanoid life form entombed in rolling mini versions of the 7-Eleven.
Clocks going back mean increased danger on the roads b.../b
The clocks went back one hour at the weekend and as with every other year; it means the number of accidents on the roads of the UK will start to increase.
The dazzling winter sun was a contributory factor in 2,684 accidents in 2009 which means, incredibly, that the sun was to blame for more accidents than rain, snow, sleet or fog. Insurance companies know when they give a motor insurance quote that there will be more accidents when the darker mornings and evenings arrive in the UK.
All rush hour drivers face the risk of being dazzled by the sun which is going to be lower in the sky. Nobody is able to change the position of the sun, so drivers need to be prepared for change in conditions. A dirty windscreen will add more danger when the sun is low. If the sun blocks a drivers vision they should slow down accordingly, while keeping an eye on the cars behind, just in case the sun is blocking their vision.
It is not just the sun that will cause problems in winter as night driving always means the motorist has to cope with decreased visibility. The distance any driver can see is shortened and this means that a hazard can often appear, seemingly out of nowhere. It also takes time for the eyes to adjust to darkness after driving on a road that is well-lit. Some vulnerable drivers struggle at night may because it is difficult to make out an identifying shape.
Night driving means it is much harder to judge speed and distance and other vehicles can actually be closer than they appear or they could be travelling a lot faster than first thought. A lot of young drivers who have very little experience of driving in darkness are especially susceptible to have accidents at night. The lights on a vehicle are there for the safety of both the driver and those other road users. To drive a vehicle at night without lights is illegal. Drivers need to check that both front and rear lights are in full working order and clean before starting a journey. And any speed limit should never be exceeded.