Chinese road officials are utilizing a unique method of combating nighttime driver fatigue: lasers! Drivers have recorded the surreal light show projected above a lengthy highway segment across northern China. The beams of bright colors are meant to keep drivers awake, but it could be a distraction on its own with the right soundtrack.
The viral video of the so-called safety feature was posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) by user “Science girl.” The lasers mounted on sign gantries above the roadway rotate between red, blue and green lights in a cycle. They don’t strobe, aim directly at vehicles or do anything particularly dangerous. The user offered a bit more context in a follow-up post:
A video captured on the Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressway displays vibrant laser lights hovering above the vehicles. 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.
Highway authorities making efforts to keep drivers awake and alert on long, boring highways isn’t exclusive to China. Famously, a 90-mile straight stretch of highway in Australia features trivia on roadside signs to keep people mentally engaged. The questions are Queensland-themed, the Australian state the route is in. Drivers can expect to see signs reading “What’s the largest living thing in the world?” The answer: The Great Barrier Reef off Queensland’s coast.
The best practice for anyone feeling groggy is to not get behind the wheel at all. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drinking energy drinks and caffeinated beverages creates a false sense of security. You could experience “microsleeps” when you lose consciousness for a few seconds before waking back up. If you have to drive, just try to take a nap beforehand.