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Safe Roads, Cars, Drive Commuters to Take Risks

Posted in FAIL, People, Safety, Science by Dustin Driver | January 7th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

It’s just as we’ve always suspected: Uninspiring automotive appliances and arrow-straight, hyper-safe roads drive commuters to sheer boredom, turning driving into a chore and making drivers inattentive and dangerous on the road. The cure? Make cars and roads dangerous again.

Source: Autoblog, Toronto Sun

Researchers at Newcastle University asked 1,563 drivers a series of questions about their habits behind the wheel. They were asked to rate statements such as, “I find slow traffic really boring,” “I often drive fast,” and “(I) often can’t remember the road section I have just been driving along.”

The results are as expected. Thirty-one percent were rated as “inattentive and dangerous.” They get bored driving and are more likely to be offended by other drivers. They also drive faster than most, resulting in more accidents. Another 35 percent were rated as “enthusiastic and attentive.” These enthusiasts drove faster than the average speed, but were less likely to get into accidents. Yet another 21 percent simply dislike driving and drive more slowly than average. Thirteen percent were described as “safe and slow.” They paid more attention behind the wheel and drove more slowly than average. What does it mean?

From the Tornoto Sun article:

“As cars come fitted with more gadgets to make driving easier and planners remove more of the distractions, it comes as no surprise to me that people are finding the pleasure of driving has become rather a chore. With that comes an increase in the risks drivers take as they mentally switch-off instead of focusing on the road,” professor of transport Edmund King said in a release about the study.

Lead researcher Dr. Joan Harvey said while it would be nice to train people to be better drivers, those who would benefit the most from it are the least likely to take part.

“We may need to start considering some radical schemes such as putting bends back into roads or introducing the concept of shared space as it would force motorists to think about their driving and pedestrians to think about cars,” Harvey said.

Make roads more curvy. Make cars roar and quake and shimmy like the world’s falling apart. Make them overwhelmingly engaging. It’s just what the driving public needs.

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