Based on the idea that traffic rules only work if people choose to obey them, a research project funded by the European Commission has created a range of “nudges” to encourage drivers to make safer decisions.

According to MeBeSafe, a “nudge” is an alteration of the surrounding world that aims to make it more likely for drivers to make good choices.

“At present, the classic way of making traffic safer is to prohibit all dangerous behaviour,” stated MeBeSafe. “But rules and laws can only work if people recall them and actively choose to follow them. If subjected to strict surveillance and tough enforcement, most people will likely obey – but that means we have used fear to control people. Why not give them the option to make a safe choice on their own?”

MeBeSafe’s “nudges” include:

  • Flat stripes running across roads that cannot be felt by drivers. As they get closer and closer together on the approach to an intersection, the driver’s instinctive perception is that they are going faster and faster – so they slow down.
  • Rows of lamps along both sides of a road, that can light up one after another in sequence. This pattern makes it seem as though the lights are moving towards the driver. As the surroundings appear to move faster, this naturally makes drivers more prone to slow down. The lamps only turn on if a driver’s speed is inappropriate.
  • A nudge for installation inside the car that helps drivers spot cyclists. A green line is projected in the windscreen that seems to follow the road. Whenever a cyclist appears, the line turns red and a notch is projected to show where the bike is coming from. for awareness