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Every so often you see articles about which traffic intersections have the worst accident records. These are compiled from publicly available data such as police reports. Let us make better use of that data.
Compile the aggregate statistics onto a DVD-ROM that is loaded into the GPS navigation
system in your car. Then, when you are approaching one of these hot spots for accidents, your car can give you a verbal or non-verbal cue to pay closer attention. It could be an indicator light, or a small vibration of the steering wheel, or a voice that says Caution! Perhaps the type of cue it gives you would vary depending on the types of accidents that occur at that point. This would be especially useful when driving in unfamiliar areas.
No doubt further enhancements could be included. If you were stuck in stop-and-go traffic, it would stay quiet. If you have been driving continuously for more than an hour, it might get louder (on the theory that you are tired). If all the accidents on file happened in January and February (due to ice), and right now it is June, it stays quiet.
Real Roadside Hazard Warnings
low-tech solution, but doesn't solve the attention problem [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Ten Worst Intersections in USA
compiled by a leading insurance company, hyped by a leading TV network [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
In-Car Traffic Lights
another related idea [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Honda's "Collision Mitigation Brake System"
June 02 2003: Somewhat related technology: "...can assess the likelihood of an accident...Visual and audio warnings are used to prompt the driver to take preventive action, but the system can also initiate braking if the warnings are ignored." [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Road Angel product
Oct 22 2003: Apparently someone has baked this in England. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
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||When I lived in Edmonton, they began placing black FATALITY street signs in the shape of a coffin, at intersections and stretches of road where there had been a traffic related death. After you see two or three in the same area over and over again, the spidey sense just doesn't shut off anymore. I don't remember what the stats were but auto related deaths went way down. (+)
||By simply checking for two hats on the parcel shelf, numberous accidents can be avoided.. but a good idea none the less... It could also tell you when you were close to McDonalds, where the best red light district was...need I go on..
||I think this would be a welcome addition to improve safety. There are several accident spots where I live; chances are that a toursit will underestimate the traffic speeds at particular junctions - time and time again there are accidents.
||I don't much go for the natural selection bit - I'll be most miffed if they hit me!
||I was driving in Aquitaine this summer and they had life-size black silhouettes at the roadside where a fatality had occurred. They were okay during the day but fairly ominous at night, particularly the cluster at one crossroads.
||its baked, I know but leave the burnt out old wrecks at the side of the road.
||[krelnik] I have a Road Angel in my car in England, and it's an excellent piece of kit. Radar detectors are a bit borderline legal here, but they can't do anything about a GPS-activated unit.
||As you approach a speed trap or an accident blackspot, it gives you a warning which gets progressively more insistent as you get closer. Very cool, and it's saved my licence more than once.