Using smell and touch to reduce car accidents [Reuters]

Whether it is wafting lavender or citrus scents to calm drivers and keep them awake, or vibrating seat belts to get them to slow down, smart cars in the future could help reduce road accidents.

Dr Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at England’s University of Oxford, is studying utilising the senses such as smell and touch to develop features in cars to make driving safer.

Drowsiness and distraction are leading causes of road traffic accidents and deaths, but Spence said vibrating seats, belts or foot pedals could alert drivers in a subtle way to a dangerous situation.

Spence, who is collaborating with an unidentified Japanese car manufacturer, is doing simulation studies to test the impact of vibration on drivers.

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