Self-driving cars are imminent but America’s roads aren’t ready for them

Website ‘The Hill’, which reports news from the Senate and the House, has published an article on the fact that while autonomous vehicles are rapidly being developed America’s roads are simply not ready for them.

Photo of a Google self-driving car
Google Self-Driving Car (Wikimedia Commons image)

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USA: Crosswalks made with Low Quality Paint or in Pretty Colors are Potentially Deadly

Poor quality paint is dangerously and very frequently used for pavement markings and crosswalks in the USA, in place of more-expensive but vastly-safer thermoplastic materials which have a high-glass-bead content for excellent reflectivity at night and in bad weather.

A photo showing the loaction of two supposedly bright yellow crosswalks but they become invisible in rain at night because of the use of cheap paint.
Two bright yellow-painted crosswalks in Falmouth, MA, from crucial angles invisible during and just after heavy rain at night. The yellow is a futile waste of time if it becomes invisible at certain times! (Copyright image.)

Compare the photo above with the one below.  They are at the same location and were taken less than 12 hours apart.
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Autonomous Vehicles? Traffic Signs can be Hacked!

According to Autoblog, university researchers “have figured out how to hack self-driving cars by putting stickers on street signs.”

Photo of a stop sign, showing digital markings designed to mislead an autonomous vehicle.
A “hacked” stop sign. Read all about this potentially dangerous development at https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/04/self-driving-car-sign-hack-stickers/

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Major Safety Improvements in New Zealand Could be Good for US Route 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway

Removing or alternating passing/overtaking possibilities on undivided rural highways, together with the introduction of narrow-profile guard rails between the center lines is a technique that was pioneered very successfully by Sweden and has now been used with similar success in New Zealand.  And there’s definitely both the scope and the need to use it in the USA, too.

Photo of the Pacific Coast Highway, north of Malibu, California
Part of an ADoNA defensive and advanced driving training route, this is a small section of the Pacific Coast Highway, north of Malibu, California (with a school bus and several cars in the middle distance). Copyright image.

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All-direction “Scramble” Crosswalks are Saving Lives in Los Angeles

In pursuit of Vision Zero, LA is introducing what California (and the USA?) is calling scramble crosswalks, at which all traffic is stopped simultaneously while pedestrians can cross the intersection in any direction, including diagonally.

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What is it with the USA and Roundabouts? Wasting Time & Money, Reinventing a Wheel!

In surprise and great dismay, I nearly spat my mouthful of coffee all over my keyboard when I read the article More traffic experiments planned in Fayetteville a few minutes ago, from the Fayetteville Flyer.

Traffic circles, of a sort, were allegedly first built by the Romans in order to expedite chariot movements at busy intersections 2,000 years ago.  Some countries still use basic traffic circles and if you are an adrenalin junky, go to Paris and try driving on the one around the Arc de Triomphe when vehicles are flowing thick and fast!  However, what today are properly called “modern roundabouts” were invented half-a-century ago in 1960s Britain.
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Interactive Road Signs can be Hugely Beneficial to Road Safety

This is one example of a clearly very useful, interactive traffic sign (from Britain) that I have encountered recently.

Not only does it warn drivers who are travelling too fast for the location but it also warns of vehicles emerging from an upcoming junction / intersection where fatal crashes have previously occurred.

Source: Clearview Intelligence