Electric Cars Make Life Difficult for Pedestrians

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.22 - 2024 2:25 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
In the push to make cities greener with electric vehicles, pedestrians are facing new safety challenges. Here's why electric cars pose a risk and what can be done to mitigate it.

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In the quest to make cities greener with electric cars and charging stations, pedestrians are facing new challenges.

Electric cars, often recognized as the vehicle of the future, bring numerous environmental benefits but also introduce significant safety concerns for pedestrians. Their near-silent operation and rapid acceleration capabilities are causing new hazards, especially in urban areas where electric cars have become more popular.

The Silent Threat

One of the main issues with electric cars is their almost silent operation. Traditional vehicles generate engine noise that pedestrians rely on to detect approaching traffic. This lack of noise from electric cars creates an "invisible danger" on city streets.

"Electric cars pose an increasing risk in traffic simply because they are so quiet," says traffic expert Jakob Nielsen.

He points out that the elderly and the visually impaired are particularly vulnerable, as they often depend heavily on auditory cues to navigate roads safely.

Unexpected Acceleration

Electric vehicles can accelerate quickly and quietly, which can surprise pedestrians. "The acceleration capability of electric cars can surprise many pedestrians and create dangerous situations," explains Nielsen.

Rapid, silent movements make it difficult for pedestrians to predict the vehicle's path, increasing the potential for accidents.

To address these risks, experts suggest implementing new safety features in electric cars. Road safety expert Maria Larsen recommends that electric vehicles be equipped with artificial noise-generating systems that activate at low speeds.

"New ways must be found to warn pedestrians about an electric car nearby," she says.

Electric cars are here to stay, and it is important to address the challenges they bring. It is critical that both automakers and lawmakers work together to ensure that advances in automotive technology do not come at the expense of pedestrian safety.

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