India Wants to Use Optical Illusions to Cut Down on Traffic Accidents

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For most, optical illusions aren’t much more than a source of entertainment. At best, you can stare at one for a couple of minutes on the Internet, and then watch as the room starts to spin around you.

However, optical illusions may be serving a far more serious purpose soon, as India plans to use them as a method of reducing car accidents. The country, which has a history of unsafe roads, has begun using 3D paintings as a replacement for traditional crosswalks.

The paintings are designed to create the illusion that they are raised out of the road, as each step in the crosswalk appears to float above the ground. The intention of this measure is to trick drivers, convincing them they need to slow down to avoid hitting the seemingly 3D objects.

It has yet to be determined how effective these optical illusions have actually been, as the country has just recently started to experiment with them. However, some have already begun to argue against the effectiveness of these 3D crosswalks, since drivers will realize after their first encounter with the paintings that they don’t actually need to slow down when approaching them on the road.

Regardless, it’s a valiant effort by India, a nation with a desperate need to make its roads safer. According to the UN’s 2009 status report on road safety, India has the highest number of yearly recorded road deaths in the world, partly due to a lack of drunk driving law enforcement.

Clearly, these optical illusions can’t fix everything, but they do show a creative and artistic attempt to solve a very serious problem. And for those not planning to visit India any time soon, it’s still insanely fun to look at pictures of the paintings.

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