Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Safety Devices Dangerous


What a hoot!

It seems that electronic safety systems, designed to minimise human error, could in fact make drivers more dangerous by lulling them into a false sense of security.

This effect has been nicknamed "highway hypnosis", and is a state of mind brought about by reduced stress and drivers having little to do.

A study was carried out at Brunel University, and looked at the effects of two systems: adaptive cruise control (ACC), which electronically maintains a safe distance from the car in front, and active steering (AS), which monitors the white lines in the road and adjusts the steering to keep the car in lane.

Researchers tested 44 drivers in a simulator to see how quickly they would respond to an emergency.

When both safety systems were switched on, their reaction times were considerably slower.

Mark Young, who led the research, said:

"If a driver has little to do the capacity to respond to unexpected events is dramatically reduced."

In other words, Nanny stops you thinking.

This is of course the hallmark of an authoritarian state.


  1. Anonymous12:26 PM

    As railwayman39 says, it's surprising that the 'experts' didn't know this - or perhaps they did and this is simply some anti car spin.

    I'm not so sure about adaptive car control (or the use of simulators with very small samples numbers tested) but the brain naturally shuts down if the images/sounds/senses in general are in a constant state. Saves energy and makes it far more obvious, and therefore 'alarming' in the subconsious sense, when something changes.

    One of the problems with cars these days is that the regulation for safety requirements have meant stronger structural cages for the occupants and specific shapes for pedestrian afety which have had the effect of making A, B and C pillars (Front, middle and rear) much thicker this reducing all around visibility. Which is one reaosn why drivers involved in accidents often collide with things they have not seen. And of course the reduce visual coverage means there is less chance of spotting something arriving in the field of view and drawing attention to itself in the subconscious. Such are the laws of unintended consequences.

    As for the Active Steering - I can't see that this will be an issue most of the time. Afaik it relies on spotting the while lines marking the lanes in the road. Since these seem to last about 6 months but are anly repainted at random intervals the chances of being able to use the system seem small.

    Perhaps in France on holiday?

    Most of the roads around my way, motorways included, keep a driver awake by setting up constant obstacles, often in the form of potholes to be avoided. If you lose concentration and hit one it will soon bring back full alert.

    This may not be true for a large 4x4 which might explain the roaring trade for a local Japanese Used car import and auction operation which seems to process such vehicles in large numbers. Odd that the Japanese should have so many of them to dispose of.

  2. Anonymous12:34 PM

    Off topic: Blog post word verification.

    Does anyone else get as pissed off as I do with the ridiculous word verification feature required for posting?

    Why does if fail to recognise its own bloody characters half the time? And why does it make the characters so damn difficult top interpret on occasions?

    Most of the blogs seem to have similar problems but Blogger seems to be the only one that will reject a triple checked entry that looked like it was entered perfectly.


    Heaven knows what the fiorst character of the code for this post is meant to be. j, l or i potentially. Lets try j and see what happens.

    No, must've been an l.

    The new one a block font but all joined up in the grapgics. Here we go again.