Thanks for that input, Chuck, that makes sense. OTOH, I'm not sure the entire infrastructure is worth building to solve primarily that problem. I think better mass transit systems are an excellent alternative.
I agree with Nadine & Ann. What happened to PAY ATTENTION. There is one thing that most people do daily that can hurt/kill them & it's drive a car. It' like eveyone wants to do anything but operate the car.
Ann, your situation is actually a good example of the value of the DSRC-based (dedicated short range communications) intelligent highway. On the intelligent highway, both of your cars would have known the other's intentions, even if the you, the drivers, could not see each other.
cvandewater, I know what you mean, having driven in all kinds of traffic for 40-plus years, much of dangerous and high-speed and/or rural while crossing creeks or navigating twisty windy steep mountain roads. In the incident I referred to, we were both signalling, but could not see each other's signal because we were almost parallel in the two lanes, and both slowing down at the same rate assuming the other guy would keep going at the previous rate. Point is, no matter what the safety designs are or how much attention is being paid, stuff happens at high speed in 4D.
Ann, participating in traffic is inherently risky because people make mistakes and heavy objects at high speeds are involved. Still, most accidents are avoidable (as long as at least one participant is in control of his vehicle *and* aware of the danger) when paying attention to what is happening around and able to respond in time. That is one reason that I hate the behavior of "diving" abruptly into a lane that I see some drivers do (even without signaling) and I will always change lane slow enough that others and I can anticipate the situation that someone else also started the process of moving into the same lane at the same time - both have some time to see what is happening and compensate before any vehicles are touching each other - in contrast to the behavior of jerking the vehicle into the new spot. The only drawback is that I run a greater risk of getting the blame in case of an accident that I moved into the lane after it was already occupied (by someone moving faster). I can deal with that because in most cases I can avoid the accident from happeing in the first place.
I agree that blind spots cannot eliminated entirely and that is also why I quoted the European regulation that since a few years requires the blind spot mirrors on the bigger vehicles that were relatively often involved in this type of accident and due to their size and construction, caused the most threat of loss of life.
Legal action on reduction of distraction might be necessary - interesting idea that was suggested on the blog for disabling cell phone from normal calling when in a moving vehicle. Even though handheld calling was outlawed in California, I see a large group of drivers break that law on daily basis, so the technological solution is one way to remove that threat from our roads.
I've done that very careful adjustment of the side mirrors to almost eliminate the blind spot. But "almost" isn't good enough, and as another person commented, it's gotten harder to turn my neck around. Plus, taking your eyes off the road is just not a good idea, especially that far. So that's why I got the little stick-on ones. Integrating them seems self-evidently necessary. Then there are the situations they'll never solve, like you and the car in the lane next to you deciding to change lanes--into each other's lane--simultaneously.
To avoid most of the blind spot area, it is possible to adjust the side mirrors so they have hardly overlap with the rear view mirror and the blind spot between side mirror and peripheral view is minimized. It is still recommended to cast a quick glance over the shoulder before actual moving over a lane, though this is mostly to confirm that nobody from 2 lanes over is moving into the same lane, because further away from the vehicle is still a significant blind spot.
Most drivers however adjust side mirrors so that they can look at their own car (not some kind of new worship but because they are concerned when manouvring in tight spots to hit the side of their vehicle) but this results in unnecessary large blind spots.
Then of course there are the yojos who are essentially driving blind, either because they are in too much hurry to even consider others, or too distracted or because they value window tinting more than driving safely at night.
In Europe all trucks and buses are now equipped with blind spot mirrors after too many unnecessary accidents caused enough outcry that it was put in law to equip trucks and buses with this life-saving equipment - after a lot of opposition from the industry claiming that it was not necessary and increased cost. I guess the same ridiculous statement as Ford once made, that a law on mandatory passenger restraints would put them out of business.
The really simple solution to vehicular distractions is to remove them. Get rid of the 49 buttons on the entertainment system, 14 selectors on the HVAC controls, and all 985 other accessory things. Of coursethat will never happen because all of those items are profit items, and profit is held to be FAR mor important than safety. Not publicly, but really.
And why do all of the instrument panels look the same, and have similar controls mounted in the center? It started because it is cheaper to build that way, and it continues because none of the car makers management has the courage to head off in a different direction. The marketing wonks have decided that everything in the center is what people will be allowed to want, and since there is no choice, they buy it, "which proves it was the right choice". A few guages in front of the driver, with headlight switch and wiper switch to the left of the steering wheel, and all of the unimportant stuff in the middle, like heater, AC, and radio. The main concept has been that people really want the stuff, because that is the answer that marketing has been giving for a lot of years. And so now the competition is on to see who can make the most profit from the most distractions. We were possibly better off whenm the emphasis was on horsepower.
RICKZ28, I find it harder to turn my head quickly, too, as a result of aging. But that was never a good idea anyway, since it takes your eyes about as far off the road as they can get (= more than 90 degrees). IAC, that's one reason I installed the stick-ons a few years back. What a world of difference! But I agree with you, the fix should not be up to an aftermarket solution.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.