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China is using lasers to stop drivers falling asleep on roads

China is using lasers to stop drivers falling asleep on roads

People are conflicted.

Authorities usually suggest pulling over somewhere safe and having a rest when you're feeling sleepy at the wheel.

But Chinese authorities are trying a less conventional initiative to combat the issue of drivers falling asleep while driving.

Called ‘high speed anti-fatigue laser lights’, bright displays of colourful lights are beamed above roads to help drivers stay alert. The authorities propose that the initiative ought to be an alternative to pulling over and resting.

The lasers are mounted onto freeway signs along a 1,600km stretch Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressway which connects the coastal city of Qingdao to Ningxia in north-central China.


An X account by the name of Science Girl who regularly shares innovative technology content, originally posted the video of the lights in action, though the video on this account is no longer available. The user explained the context of the video: ‘Mr. Li, the person behind the camera, reported that these laser lights designed to combat fatigue quickly revitalized him and reduced his exhaustion during a prolonged nighttime.'

The aim of the initiative is for the lights to catch the attention of sleepy drivers, keeping them alert and reducing the risk of an accident.

Disco-style colours alternate between red, purple, blue and green beams projected across the sky in a display that many Reddit users likened to Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road map.

VisionaryVoid/X
VisionaryVoid/X

The video posted to X has been viewed over 68m times, with many commenters criticising the practicality of the initiative.

One user replied: ‘Who’s genius idea is it to blind the drivers? Congrats, those who aren’t sleepy are now disorientated’.

Others think the lights could cause more accidents by distracting drivers: ‘Doesn’t this distract the driver more? Instead of looking at the road he’ll be looking at the lights?’

Another X user responded with similar sentiment: ‘I would guess it probably does reduce sleeping accidents. but I would also bet that it increases distraction accidents more than it helps with sleeping.'

Other users worried about the effects of the constant flashing lights on those with photosensitive epilepsy, with one person responding: 'Erm what about people with epilepsy.' Alongside the concern of such harsh lighting for individuals experiencing astigmatism.

All in all, while this may look cool, there is still a lot of scepticism about what many people are dubbing a real-life Rainbow Road.

Featured Image Credit: VisionaryVoid/X