Believe it or not, optical illusion (错觉)can cut highway crashes.
Japan is a case in point. It has reduced automobile crashes on some roads by nearly 75 percent using a simple optical illusion. Bent stripes, called chevrons (人字形), painted on the roads make drivers think that they are driving faster than they really are, and thus drivers slow down.
Now the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington D.C. is planning to repeat Japan’s success. Starting next year, the foundation will paint chevrons and other patterns of stripes on selected roads around the country to test how well the patterns reduce highway crashes.
Excessive speed plays a major role in as much as one fifth of all fatal traffic accidents, according to the foundation. To help reduce those accidents, the foundation will conduct its tests in areas where speed-related hazards are the greatest—curves, exit slopes, traffic circles, and bridges.
Some studies suggest that straight, horizontal bars painted across roads can initially cut the average speed of drivers in half. However, traffic often returns to full speed within months as drivers become used to seeing the painted bars.
Chevrons, scientists say, not only give drivers the impression that they are driving faster than they really are but also make a lane appear to be narrower. The result is a longer lasting reduction in highway sped and the number of traffic accidents.