This '3D' Crosswalk Uses an Optical Illusion to Slow Drivers

Crosswalks are meant to tell drivers to yield to pedestrians, but too often they're treated as a suggestion rather than a rule. If the possibility of hitting someone isn't enough to slow speeding drivers, two artists from Gujarat, India are hoping this sneaky optical illusion will do the trick.

As WIRED reports, Saumya Pandya Thakkar and daughter Shakuntala Pandya have teamed up to redesign the classic white-striped crosswalk to look like roadblocks jutting up from the street. To drivers on the highway in the west Indian city of Ahmedabad, the shapes will look like three-dimensional structures from far away. But the artists say the illusion fades as cars get closer, so it shouldn't lead to any motorists slamming on their breaks to avoid crashing into something that isn't there. 

Highway officials have experimented with similar 3D crosswalks designs here in the states. A few years ago, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation transformed the plain white blocks of one crosswalk by painting brightly colored shapes around them to give them the illusion of being raised from the rest of the street. Parts of Chicago have also featured eye-catching 3D markings since the beginning of the decade. There's still no comprehensive research about whether these designs are actually effective. But in India, a country where traffic-related deaths are on the rise, experimenting with safer road signage can't hurt. 

[h/t WIRED]

Header/banner images via Twitter.

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Low on Gas? You Can Now Get It Delivered to You
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If you live in a major city, there’s virtually nothing you can’t get delivered straight to your house. Forget groceries and takeout; you don’t even have to get yourself to the gas station anymore. As Lifehacker reports, there’s a service that will fill up your tank for you while your car is parked in your driveway.

Yoshi, an app-based service that brings car care to you, is currently available in more than 10 different cities across the U.S. It not only sells fuel-ups on demand, but also offers oil changes, car washes, repairs, tire checks, and other basics of car maintenance.

To fuel up, you plug in your car’s location on the Yoshi app and set up a delivery. Then, all you need to do is make sure that your car is in the right place and the door to the gas tank is open, and Yoshi will swoop in and fill ‘er up.

Yoshi sells its gas based on AAA price averages in your area, so the service isn’t as pricey as you might think, though you definitely do have to pay for the convenience. If you’re just looking to occasionally buy gas, Yoshi charges a $7 delivery fee. If you plan to use the service regularly, membership costs $20 a month and includes free fuel delivery every week.

The service is certainly a luxury, but if it’s difficult for you to get to a gas station regularly, that $7 delivery fee could be the difference between a smooth ride and running out of gas.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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Why You Should Never Leave Bottles of Water in Your Hot Car
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Leaving water bottles in your car during summer is a bad idea—and not just because chemicals from the plastic can leach into your water when it gets hot.

A plastic bottle of water can set your car seat on fire if sunlight hits it at just the right angle, according to House Beautiful. If you don't believe that, just ask Dioni Amuchastegui, a battery technician with the Idaho Power Company.

Amuchastegui was sitting in his truck during his lunch break when he saw some smoke out of the corner of his eye. He looked over “and noticed light was being refracted through a water bottle and was starting to catch the seat on fire,” Amuchastegui said in a Facebook video. He recorded the clip to warn others about the dangers of leaving plastic water bottles in hot cars.

He tested it again, and a thermometer held up to the bottle registered a temperature of 213°F. The Midwest City Fire Department in Oklahoma conducted its own test and concluded that the dangers are very real.

"Vinyl generally starts to burn at 455 degrees," David Richardson, of the fire department, tells CBS News. "It wouldn't take very long to start a fire if conditions were right—depends on how focused that beam of light is."

Many people already avoid drinking from bottles left in cars—especially in the winter—due to a widely held belief that freezing or reusing plastic bottles can cause carcinogenic compounds to be released into the water. As Snopes reports, some of these claims are merely urban legends, but there may be some truth to the claim that heat can cause harmful phthalates (environmental contaminants) to leach into the water. The fact-checking agency rated this claim "undetermined."

Regardless, the potential for kindling a fire should provide some incentive to clean out your car and remove any bottles that were tossed haphazardly into the backseat.

[h/t House Beautiful]

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