Vehicle: Car: Proximity Detector
Lane-Changing Sensors   (+2, -1)  [vote for, against]
Saving lives one beep at a time.

Passing an 18-wheeler truck on the right can be dangerous but most drivers do it anyway. I've had many experiences (and seen it happen to other drivers, too) where the truck driver started to change lanes while I'm still in the truck's looming shadow. It's scary. Instead of having to to lean on my car horn and swerving to save my life, I propose that sensors be placed on the sides of the truck, both in the cargo area and in the driver's cab. These sensors will be activated when the driver flips on the turn signal to change lanes. If there is another vehicle in that lane, the sensors will beep, alerting the truck driver that it is not safe to change lanes.
-- Machiavelli, Aug 04 2004

That is a great idea. I can think of several types of sensors that could be used. Realy anything that can be limited by range. It just needs to be able to detect any object within say 8 feet. I'm thinking something that uses an electromagnetic field like a metal detector could work, radar or laser could be good also. Even plastic cars and motorcycles have steel or aluminum frames. This could also be usefull on SUV's, Pickups, and cars with blind spots..
-- dlapham, Aug 05 2004

this is a great idea. i think it should be installed in cars too, many have large blindspots. a lot of newer cars have sensors for the rear of the car anyways. probably wouldn't cost much more to put them all around. (+)
-- xclamp, Aug 05 2004

//These sensors will be activated when the driver flips on the turn signal to change lanes//

huh? that means that the truck driver would have to use his turn signals?

I think that it would take about the same amount of trouble for the truck drivers to actually look in his mirror

short of that it is a good ideah I think that audiable warnings may take minimal attention to know who is around you such as a tone that increases when a vehical is overtaking a truck or a car or a vibration in the drivers seat. so as long as there is a vehicle that is close you will either be able to hear or feel how far away they are then you could put small feedback lights or signals on the cars or trucks to alert the approaching vehicle that the system is seeing or not seeing you this may also reduce incidence of tailgating
-- shad, Aug 05 2004

Actually, [shad], most semis have blind spots larger than Ford Explorers on both sides of the trailer, and slightly smaller ones beside the cab (that could hide a Miata).

Using the mirrors doesn't cover everything, because even the three-mirror layouts on both sides of the cab don't cover a goodly portion of the road.

I like this idea, but I propose that 8 feet may still be too much. Perhaps 6 is a better target distance.
-- shapu, Aug 05 2004

Some Freightliner trucks have sensors for this already. I believe the technology used is sonar.
-- Acme, Aug 05 2004

random, halfbakery