Electric cars have a lot of upside. They are generally better for the environment than their fossil-fuel dependent counterparts, and over time they have become more competitive in performance and price. But in getting rid of internal combustion engines, electric cars have dispensed with another motor vehicle staple: engine noise.
Although driving down the road in complete silence may seem peaceful and soothing for the driver, pedestrians and cyclists have learned to rely on auditory cues to protect themselves from passing vehicles. The lack of noise could result in a severe car-versus-pedestrian accident.
It is unclear at this time how big of a problem this really is. Even electric cars are still equipped with horns, and most pedestrians and cyclists still need to look both ways before crossing a street. Nonetheless, several companies are testing artificial sounds to be integrated in their electric vehicles to help reduce the risk of crashes and injuries.
Regardless of how this technological dilemma plays out, you can always help protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings. Be alert in areas where pedestrians and vehicles might come into contact, and minimize your distractions. Doing so can help you avoid being involved in an accident and reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others.