“Brake” the Habit of Distracted Driving

Corey S

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Think about the countless times you were driving directly behind someone else and you see them begin to brake, but it is difficult to determine how hard they are actually braking. So, you begin to apply the brake, but you do not realize that they have come to all but a complete stop and now you must begin to brake heavily. This scenario can be even more dangerous if the driver is distracted by a phone or friends in the car. This seems to be an issue among young and inexperienced drivers leading to numerous major and minor fender benders, serious crashes or worse. I am proposing a creative and innovative idea for reducing that uncertainty about how hard a driver is actually braking. Similar to a graphic LED equalizer that fills up vertically as music volume is increased, a brake light that mimics this equalizer could replace the normal brake lights; as a person brakes harder, the brake light moves closer to the top of the light. Take the lights and make them all the standard red brake color and place them where the normal brake lights are on every car. Add some adapter that allows the lights to increase upward directionally, not increase in the intensity of the light, but relative to the intensity of the pressure applied on the brake pedal. For example, say if you are slightly hitting the breaks, then from the bottom up, only 30-50% of the brake light is lit up. If you are really stopping, then 75-100% of the light is increasingly illuminated by an increase of pressure applied. The lights must be slightly brighter in order to accommodate for the slighter braking where less of the brake light is illuminated. The different amounts of the brake illuminated indicate to the driver behind how hard they must apply the brake in order to slow down safely. This reduces the judgment made by not only young drivers but of all ages to correctly assess how hard they must brake. A reduction of this in-the-moment decision will give young drivers more information on the driver in front of them in order to drive safely. This innovative design could be the difference between life and death of the young and inexperienced drivers, especially when distracted. The human eye has two separate regions of vision: focal center (direct sight) and peripheral. Peripheral vision is most effective not interpreting exact details, but indicating motion. When distracted, the peripheral vision is primarily in use while the direct sight is on a phone or elsewhere. The movement of the light as the brake lights are increasing vertically increases the likeliness that the distracted driver will focus back on the road preventing a collision. In order to prevent distracted driving collisions, a new adaptation should be added to brake lights to catch the attention of someone who may not be paying attention. Pressure activated brakes have the ability to catch the eye of someone who may be distracted due to the eye’s peripheral abilities to notice movement.


Description

To prevent distracted driving collisions, brake lights should increase in reference to the pressure applied. The harder a person brakes, the more the light fills up vertically, similar to the appearance of turning up the volume on a radio or a music equalizer. Because a person’s peripheral vision detects movement, these brakes would catch the eye of a distracted driver.