Remember when we mentioned the problem with the new ENV hydrogen motorcycle being too silent? You could be zipping down the road and people would walk out in front of you because they never heard you coming. It seems the new hybrid cars are running into the same problem when in their all electric mode. You start backing up in a parking lot and bang!, you hit a pedestrian.
Motor Trend magazine has an article about many Prius drivers seeing this happen all the time. Blind pedestrians are particularly vulnerable since they listen for car sounds before proceeding into the street. All of this is learned behavior because we have for so long been accustomed to engine sounds and now the technology is changing and habits have to change along with them. Maybe people have to actually start looking again before they walk out into traffic. What the blind will do isn’t clear. The idea of backup alarms on cars like we hear on big trucks may be a first attempt, but as one person said in the article, imagine walking in a mall parking lot with a hundred backup alarms beeping, it would drive you nuts. Of course, with a hydrogen motorcycle, we can just put playing cards in the spokes, problem solved.
On a positive note, with vehicle noise gone, the complaints about noise pollution should diminish.
Just one more unintended consequence of this brave new world.