Carmakers are working to optimize virtually ever part of new models for fuel efficiency. Soon, that may even include the navigation system.
This is quite interesting. 3% improvement in fuel efficiency doesn’t sound very much until you consider how much fuel we consume every day. But what really excites me is anything that can influence the reduction of the ripple effect. This is one of the big problems on the road today. It only takes one person to put on their brakes for any reason to impact on dozens of cars behind them.
If only we could find as easy a solution to cut down on rubberneckers. Last week in Auckland we had a 6 car pile up on the North Western Motorway. That was dealt with pretty quickly. However, the thousands of people driving in the other direction where there were no crashes, caused congestion that lasted for hours and more than doubled the time of their normal evening peak hour commute. Many solutions were discussed such as crash screens that are used when there are serious injuries or scenes that you wouldn’t want people to see, but motorists slow down for those too.
Technology is a wonderful thing and my regular readers know I am passionate about it, but it can’t compensate for people’s innate desire to see and know what it going on. We as motorists need to take some responsibility here because more lanes and space when everyone wants to see what is happening somewhere that doesn’t impact them and means they are not looking at where they are going, probably won’t decrease the travel time and could well cause more accidents. So maybe the end result is we need more intelligent transport systems to compensate for our poor car driving skills, which will probably continue to become more inversely proportional to the technology that compensates for them. I was in a large meeting the other day when the audience were asked how many people could drive a stick shift. The answer was less than half. IMHO people who can drive a manual car have at least a little more awareness of how the vehicle works and safety issues.