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Car-horn Visual Indicator

For the hearing-impaired
 
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I just recently got my beginner's license (although I'm 30+ - slow starter) and while reading through the driver's manual, I noticed that legally where I'm from, when you pass someone, you're actually supposeed to give an audible "toot" when in the other car's blind spot. This, to me, sems like a very good idea, but what about the hearing-impaired? Other than being able to hear horns, they would normally have all the physical traits necessary to drive cars, and I'm sure a great deal of them do so. But what if we added a device that allowed them awareness of horn-honking? What I propose is a set of audio sensors rigged around the car connected to an LED or LCD display, preferably on the steering column or other visible area, which not only indicates the fact that a horn was/is honking, but also the direction from which the sound comes, thus alerting the hearing-impaired driver of the imminent approach.
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003

[link]






       Or you could flash your lights.
snarfyguy, Jun 12 2003
  

       [snarfyguy]- Most people aren't polite enough to flash their lights, plus there really isn't a way of knowing whether or not the occupant is hearing-impaired. Also in the original description I mentioned that the horn is sometimes used while you're in the other driver's blind spot, in which the flashing headlights may not be seen. I thought of adding, however, a bumper sticker saying, "Car equipped with visual horn indicator".
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       Yeah. I'd also expect a hard -of- hearing person to take extra caution when checking his/her blind spot. That sounds like I'm being funny....   

       I'm sure there are laws in most U.S. states requiring drivers to honk/flash lights when passing, but I can't remember the last time I saw it done.
phoenix, Jun 12 2003
  

       Yes, [jutta], this is a differently-abled accessory, such as hand-operated gas & brake pedals. Needs a special permit & everything...
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       Is this a db meter hooked to a variable intensity led in the Deaf person's car?
ato_de, Jun 12 2003
  

       I wouldn't say variable-intesity LED, but a dB-meter tuned specifically to car-horn frequencies. This idea seems bakeable, it just hasn't been done. Yet.
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       // differently-abled //   

       Ugh. I got PC all over me just reading that.   

       Welcome to driving, Cr0. That note about tooting at people when you're in their blind spot - if I were you I'd just skip over that. You'll probably just piss people off who don't understand why you're honking at them.   

       Idea has merit, though.
waugsqueke, Jun 12 2003
  

       My home state of Missouri has that law, and when I did it during my drivers test the examiner told me not to anymore.
ry4an, Jun 12 2003
  

       I never know who my audience is, and since this would be a product exclusively for the hearing-impaired, best to err on the side of caution.
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       Also, [ato_de], the LEDs would indicate the direction of the honking rather than intensity, maybe a set of 8 LEDs behind a plastic stylized picture of the car. Contrary to popular belief, if you press your horn harder, it does *not* honk louder...
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       The volume could give a possible indication of how far away the horn is.
waugsqueke, Jun 12 2003
  

       An excelent idea. Have a croissant.
ato_de, Jun 12 2003
  

       The sensors, calibrated for frequency, would indicate the speed also, since the Doppler shift would increase the perceived frequency of the observer (the detectors) and that may indicate perhaps a maniac blaring his horn as he's coming toward, beside, then passing you. Chances are, though, this type of driver would also be giving you visual signals, i.e. flipping the bird.
Cr0esus47, Jun 12 2003
  

       Firstly, if they're in your blind spot, you won't see flashing lights anyhow. Secondly, young drivers have their stereos on so loud they wouldn't hear if thay ran over a moose.
git, Jun 12 2003
  

       I thought of something similar recently. It was after dark, and I was refueling at a gas station.   

       This was next to some railroad tracks. Out of nowhere a train went by with a whistle screaming so loud, I almost screamed myself !   

       I was ruefully thinking that after dark they should have strobe lights instead of whistles.
Jkirk3279, Nov 12 2003
  

       This could also help drivers be alert to emergency vehicles. Pastry for you.
KLRico, Nov 12 2003
  
      
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