Hybrid Cars: Silent But Flawed?
Are Hybrid And Electric Cars Too Quiet?
Hybrid and fully electric cars are quieter than their traditional siblings - but is this a significant strength or a worrying weakness? One one hand, near-silent cars are relaxing to drive which is nice for motorists. They also make life more peaceful for those who live or work close to busy roads. But what about pedestrians and cyclists? These individuals listen for traffic as much as look for it. They therefore partially rely on thumping pistons and booming exhausts to stay safe. But electric cars - and hybrids travelling at low speeds – do not make traditional car noises so they sneak-up on road users. As their numbers rise this could increase the frequency of accidents which would be bad for the individuals concerned, their families, and the N.H.S. Now, it is fair to suggest that people could learn to rely more on their eyesight. Perhaps this is true. But what about blind pedestrians who depend almost entirely on their hearing to sense traffic? And what about other motorists? Drivers perceive the presence of traffic - even when it is hidden by blind spots/fog - via the rumble of exhausts and the pounding of internal combustion.
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