Safety Optical Illusion – Fail!

You’re cruising down the road, nearing a school zone, when BAM! Out of nowhere, a little girl chasing her ball across the street appears. Your heart races, you slam on the brakes, and then her image dissolves. What? Two Canadian safety organizations have partnered to install a $15,000 device that projects the likeness of a girl chasing a pink ball down the street onto a road in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s seen most clearly at a distance of 30 meters, looks like a blur from further away, and disappears up close. The BCAA hopes it will remind drivers to expect the unexpected, but it seems that it could just catch less-than-attentive drivers off guard, leading to accidents stemming from drivers trying to avoid this imaginary girl. The finished “project” looks anything but realistic! And when I remember how we disagreed with Optical Illusion Street Bumps

27 Replies to “Safety Optical Illusion – Fail!”

  1. I don’t know why Mitchell would be embarrassed. The picture is not supposed to be “vivid”, it’s an illusion…supposed to make you “think” and slow down. Of course I can see where it might make people slam on breaks causing rear end crashes if you’re not paying attention…like texting on a cell phone…good idea but maybe warning signs 100 feet before the little girl appears would be better; just a thought.

  2. That picture was a sample printed in the local paper. Clearly the camera was not at quite the correct angle, and the lighting was bad (the photo is from an underground parking garage where they demonstrated it to the local media). These decals are designed so that at the correct angle, the image suddenly jumps into focus and is 3 dimensional – the effect is intended to be as if a girl ran out into the street chasing a ball. They are putting the decals around a local school, but I haven’t been there yet to see the effect — I’m imagining however that there could be a series of car accidents as people slam on their brakes, then are rear-ended by the driver behind them (who of course has not seen any of this).

    If I ever get up to where the school is (it’s a bit of a drive from where I live), I’ll see if I can get a better photo for this site.

  3. Hopefully it won’t have the same consequence as in the fake speed bumps. Imagine drivers get used to the little girl running out in the road, and then a real little girl runs out and they think SHE is an illusion

  4. If it works why not use any method available. Here in Australia we have slow zones and funny enough the ones most likely to go fast are the mothers picking up their kids.

  5. I agree that it could cause accidents through people trying to avoid the girl, but also, drivers could start to assume all little girls are just an illusion and not bother to slow down, then realise when they are right upon the girl and unable to break quick enough that she is real.

    Seems a VERY bad idea to me!

  6. This is the dumbest idea I’ve heard in a while. People are sure to get rear ended as they screech to a halt! I can also see someone swerving to miss her and going off the side of the road and killing some hapless kid on the sidewalk. What a bunch of morons.

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