longacre writes "Modern highway planning schemes designed to make roads safer combined with the comfort and safety technology found in the modern automobile may actually be putting us in danger, according to a compelling piece in Popular Mechanics. Citing studies and anecdotal evidence, the article points out that a driver on a narrow mountain road will probably drive as if their life depends on it; but the same driver on an eight-lane freeway with gradual curves and little traffic may be lulled into speeding while chatting on his cellphone. Quoting: 'Modern cars are quiet, powerful and capable of astonishing grip in curves, even on wet pavement. That's swell, of course, until you suddenly lose traction at 75 mph. The sense of confidence bred by all this capability makes us feel safe, which causes us to drive faster than we probably should. We don't want to make cars with poor response, but perhaps we could design cues — steering-wheel vibration devices, as in video games? — that make us feel less safe at speed and encourage more care. ... In college I drove an Austin-Healey 3000 that somehow felt faster at 45 mph than my Mazda RX-8 (or even my Toyota Highlander Hybrid) feels at 75 mph. That was a good thing.'"
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