If you happen to see a pointy, multi-colored box lying in the middle of the road, don’t automatically swerve to avoid it.
The box may just be an illusion.
To help slow speeding drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is testing new fake 3-D speed bumps in Philadelphia and other communities. The fake bumps are made from reflective glass beads and a flat piece of blue, white and orange plastic that, when slapped on the pavement, looks like a 3-D pyramid from afar.
During testing in Phoenix, the percentage of drivers who obeyed the speed limit nearly doubled with the help of these optical illusions. However, the effect did wear off after a few months.
Why install fake speed bumps instead of the real thing?
Fake bumps only cost $60 to $80 each – a fraction of real speed bumps (which can run $1,000 to $1,500) and require little maintenance. Illusionary bumps are also portable and can work in places where real bumps may not.
We haven’t seen any of these devices in Michigan yet, but they could improve our commutes by covering up a few potholes.