My road trip down to Bonnaroo (detailed in depth here) taught me a lot of things – music festivals can be fun no matter what, sushi is delicious everywhere, and the North East is by one of the unfriendliest places I have ever been. Specifically, one thing I really got out of my trip, perhaps sadly, is how useful it would be to have someone invent a car link. We drove down in two cars, and being able to stay in site of each other – while not vital – was always preferred.
For those who have never driven in tandem – either leading another car, or worse, following someone else – driving can be a somewhat harrowing experience if you are in a high traffic area and only one car knows where it is really going. Luckily, during our trip, we never really had any problems beyond having to cut off a car every now and then to maintain site of the lead (we were almost always in back).
Of course, constantly having to weave in and out of traffic to maintain visual contact with the car you are following poses inherent risks. What happens if you cut off a car that can’t stop in time? What happens if you need to speed to catch up with the people you’re following? It would just be inherently easier if you could signal to other cars on the road that the two cars are somehow linked.
Of course, this car link can’t be anything physical, otherwise you would be adding all sorts of dangers to the road. Instead, the link should just be something visible that signals to other cars that you are driving in tandem – sort of like a reminder. Perhaps the best way to do this would be through some sort of light.
Just as cars signal (hopefully) when they turn or change lanes, so too should there be some sort of signal to indicate you are following someone else. I am not a scientist or an engineer, so I can not really come up with the specifics of what it would be like, but I imagine it would be some sort of light link between the two cars… although, having written this, I think I might have been watching too much Sci-fi recently.
Ideally, this connection would exist (without the fear of blinding other drivers). There should probably be some sort of security feature, too, to stop someone from randomly being able to start following someone else – we have enough stalking through Facebook, already. I guess to prevent this, then, cars could have some sort of onboard computer that would have to accept each car link request.
I don’t know how doable this is, but it could be a nice feature to reduce some driving stress.