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Warning Lights on Cars Need Revamping

January 13, 2010

Every once in a while, I’ll run into this scenario while driving. I see a car with it’s signals blinking and I have no clue whether it is turning or if it has it’s Warning/Caution/4-way lights on. This is because if you can’t see both sides of the vehicle (from the front or back of the car), both of these signals look the same. I find this is especially an issue when cars  are parallel parked.

A solution to this seems ridiculously simple, therefore I feel like it must have a flaw. If the warning lights had a different pattern of blinking (ex. a double blink, then a pause) then it would be harder to misinterpret them for a turn signal. I have no clue who to suggest this idea to: the government, car companies? I’m not sure where this regulation stems from. If someone could let me know or tell these people yourselves, I’d love to see this changed.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 07:35

    That is not the only problem that bothers me regarding indicator lights.

    Remember the dawn of LED light use in the rear light clusters? Remember how Cadillac advertised, saying that the quicker lighting up of LED based brake lights prevented accidents by shaving off a few meters of the stopping distance?

    Well, in North-America a lot of cars have red rather than amber direction indicators, and often combine all these close together with rear lights and brake lights. So when you see only one corner of the car and a red light flares up, that first observation of which Cadillac claims it saves braking distance, could as well be caused by the first blink of the indicator as by the first lighting up of the brake light. So much for the LED time advantage!

    And why, except for purely esthetical reasons use red rather than amber in the first place? Amber is compulsory in Europe, yet, ironically on the European cars exported to North-America the amber European versions are often replaced by red lights.

    Doesn’t this raise the question whether car design details regarding safety are as scientifically determined as we often think and would like to think?


    • July 1, 2010 13:15

      I hadn’t noticed that there were some direction indicators that were red, but that does sound like a significant issue!

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