Tesla Model 3 dashboard in Autopilot testing with IIHS [CREDIT: IIHS]
The turn signal is one of the most essential passive safety measures onboard every single new car. Yet, millions of drivers choose to ignore the ability, and let’s face it, the decision puts other drivers at risk. Tesla appears ready to flick the indicators whether a driver likes it or not.
The Silicon Valley-based electric car manufacturer has filed for a patent that flashes the left or right turn signal when drivers forget (or choose not to) use them. According to the patent, the technology relies on the Autopilot electronic driver aid to sense if other cars are nearby. If it detects the car is edging toward a lane marker, and there are other vehicles nearby, it will automatically flash the corresponding turn signal during to mark the lane change.
That’s fine and dandy, but it is nice to know a driver plans to change lanes ahead of the actual maneuver. That kind of courtesy only comes from the driver.
According to a recent study, reported by Drive on Friday, not using indicators causes more crashes than motorists using mobile phones behind the wheel. Again, it comes down to making other drivers aware of one’s intentions to occupy a space. And other companies are already working on solutions for the day self-driving cars and human drivers co-exist.
Apple filed for a patent earlier this month that helps visualize a self-driving car’s next move for other motorists. In the case of changing lanes, the self-driving car could display a timer to make drivers aware of when it plans to execute a maneuver and the car could even highlight the desired space it wants to occupy.
But really, this kind of technology shouldn’t be necessary. Drivers, just use your turn signals, please.