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Accidents caused by silent operation?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by VaG, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. VaG

    VaG Member

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    Has anyone had any accidents or seen a higher risk of an accident, due to the silent nature of the car? This would likely be in place with lots of pedestrians and where visibility is bad.

    I can imagine people not getting out of the way when you are moving off, because they don't hear any kind of engine.

    Or, children not knowing about silent cars and thinking a thoroughfare is safe, when along rolls a Tesla Model S.

    I sort of dread getting into that sort of accident. It's the very problem that causes authorities to want silent cars to make a fake noise.
     
  2. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I did a research on this type of accident. It is extremely rare, usually where kids play by the street and jump out into traffic, or walk along a 2 lane hiway and wander into the lane. Parking lots are not the point, but it's the people in parking lots who are most surprised to realize they have a silent sedan rolling along behind them. Of course, they are wandering, talking, texting, iPod-ing, unaware that they might be in the middle of the traffic lane.

    And then you have people jay walking or stepping out in the crosswalk against the light. Something about Darwin's law.

    Deaf people watch. City traffic is so loud that a small noisemaker is useless. It is currently mostly based on fear, leveraged by lawyers and politicians who are trying to make a buck or pretend they care about this issue.

    Well, I expect to get my share of flame. It's already over 100 here, so I won't notice it much.
     
  3. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Hybrids don't run the engine at slow speeds either and the studies have showed the accident rates are basically unchanged for them versus ICE cars. At speeds greater than a few miles per hour tire noise is the predominant sound.

    So, in short, no, it's not a problem.
     
  4. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    10,000 miles and no issues here...not even remotely. Haven't heard of any either.
     
  5. hans

    hans P631

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    Not a problem.

    I think it's much more likely for a Tesla driver to get into an accident jumping out quickly on a green light and getting T-boned by someone running the red light on the cross traffic. I always look twice before enjoying the full acceleration.
     
  6. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    #6 Lloyd, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    I've had more chances for accidents with people rubbernecking looking at the car!!
     
  7. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    It would be less expensive and more effective to legislate that personal music-playing devices must give a warning to the wearer when the wearer is about to walk into your car.
     
  8. Ven Rala

    Ven Rala Member

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    The 'car is too quiet' issue is another bogus non-issue against EVs. I did have someone ask me how the car warns people if they don't hear it coming. I said it has a horn. If someone isn't looking around before crossing a street or walking in a parking lot, is that the car's fault?

    As for people who are blind, this is a legitimate issue. It is also our responsibility to watch for all pedestrians, whether they be blind or children (or just not careful).

    I have never heard of an actual accident due to this problem. I have a S with over 3000 miles and a hybrid with over 15,000 miles and no issue.
     
  9. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    The electric cars are no more quiet than many other modern vehicles. If they are going to make ev's make noise it should have the same noisemaker for all vehicles.
     
  10. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    This comes up periodically. I've seen too many people not notice ICE cars in parking lots until someone honks, to believe anyone should worry about a "quiet" EV or hybrid. Oblivious people are oblivious to noise as well as to seeing things. Non-issue, IMHO.
     
  11. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    lol, you must not have your car yet in Austin or else you'd know it has a noisemaker -- THE AC UNIT IS REALLY LOUD!!

    Just run the fan really fast if you are worried about being too quiet.
     
  12. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    1. Many iCE cars are just as silent or more silent than EVs or hybrids at speeds of 10 mph or less.

    2. The NTEAA did a test with several blind people and they had no problem hearing EVs or ICEs going over 10 mph. Under 10 mph neither could be heard. No one who participated in the test thought that the no sound was a problem. (Even in parking lots that have 5 mph speed limits posted, no one goes under 10 mph.)

    3. In 256,000 miles of Prius/Model S driving neither Denise nor I have encountered a situation where there was even a possibility of a pedestrian accident. (Okay, it's only one data point, but still...)

    Laws that target hybrids and EVs are really proposed to put obstacles in the way of adoption, not to promote any kind of safety.
     
  13. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    Non-issue. How about the Prez and Congress focus on the millions of folks who have been unemployed for years versus cars that are quiet?
     
  14. eugenel

    eugenel Member

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    The whole issue is nonsense and will go down in history the same way the man with red flag walking in front of early cars did. Any legislation requiring a noise-maker for EVs would also have to ban any 'yoof' from using personal hifi (i.e. headphones) within 10 metres of a road ...

    Eugene
     
  15. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    very true... put the temp on "LO" and fan over 7 and you'll get a nice loud whirring sound similar to the Mercedes Diesels of the 80's
     
  16. VaG

    VaG Member

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    OK. Glad to hear it's not an issue. It sounds like it may continue as an urban legend, like screen-burn on plasma TVs or something.

    I'm gonna consider the thread closed:)
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    FUD in my opinion. I've been driving a Tesla for three years now (Roadster and Model S), not had any more problems than with previous ICE cars. Oblivious people are still oblivious. Never had an incident that I would attribute to the car being electric.

    If you're going at a crawl then sure, the car is stealth... but it's not much of a threat at that speed. At any reasonable speed you can easily hear the tires.

    Occasionally oblivious people will walk down the middle of a parking lot aisle, and you have to drive at walking speed behind them. A pedestrian horn would be useful for those situations - something that goes "beep" rather than "HONK".
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Hire some unemployed folks to walk around parking lots with EVs ringing a bell like the Salvation Army. Two birds...
     
  19. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    There are some situations where an EV (or Prius with engine off) surprises people. I've posted this before but I have a long downhill run to my house (>1 mile) and people walking in the road don't hear me at 20 mph. There are no sidewalks so they walk in the road. Usually I pace them until they notice me. Some times it take a while. And we do a have a grumpy old woman that berated me for reckless driving as I rolled past her at 5 mph.
     
  20. jammerdjc

    jammerdjc S Owner/Member

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    Prior to my Tesla I had a Honda Fit for 2+ years. I can't tell you the number of times that I came up on oblivious people in parking lots or crossing the street. I agree it's all FUD.
     

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