Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Inter-car communication

A simple device for sending messages between cars
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The ways in which car drivers can communicate between each other are (a) pretty few, and (b) lamentably low-bandwidth. One of the few things you can do is to flash your headlights, and even then no one really knows what this means all the time. You could have some sophisticated inter-car radio-based communications protocol, but no one would ever use this because 99% of cars on the road wouldn't have the receiver, so instead... use coloured lights, mounted above the licence plates at the front and rear of the car. Say we had 2 lights, Green and Yellow (made up of banks of LEDs)

Displayed on the Back of a car (i.e.: communicating to the car behind):

Green: Thanks (say, if the car behind you had just let you into a queue of traffic) or Yes/Acknowledgement of another message

Green and Yellow: Stop tailgating me!

Yellow: Yup, I know you want to pass me; I'll pull over as soon as I can

Displayed on the front of a car (i.e.: communicating to the car in front):

Green: Yes/Acknowledgement of another message

Yellow: Can you let me pass please? Green (flashing): There's something wrong with your car

hippo, Mar 06 2000

(?) Rear window messager http://www.hammache.../publish/60256.htm?
Baked already. Kevin/Sunny2's stock ticker thing. [hippo, Mar 06 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Bike Magic Flasher http://www.bikemagicflasher.co.uk/
Attaches to bike spokes and spells out a configurable message as the wheel turns. [hippo, Mar 06 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

CBSNews: "Green Light A Road Rage Stopper?" http://www.cbsnews....ch/main560015.shtml
Jun 23 2003: A Virginia Tech psychologist is baking this. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       I don't think green and yellow would work. You need colors not easily mistaken for other things. Yellow can often be the color of fog lamps or turning/hazard signals (yellow to orange) and green is associated with traffic signals (as is yellow, really). This eliminates red, yellow, green, orange, and white, at least. Blue might be viable, but police cars use it. Of course, this doesn't mean you cant re-use colors, you'd just have to match the current purpose of the color with the intended meaning (i.e.: using green to mean anything other than something closely related to an afirmative may be dangerous).
dnm, Mar 07 2000
  

       You can send a few messages with your existing hardware -- "semi" truck drivers do it all the time. Often, when they signal a lane change, they will look for the vehicle behind them and in the lane they want to enter to flash (off and on) its headlights. This signal indicates that it is safe for the truck to enter the lane. After the driver makes the lane change he or she flashes his brake lights and turn signals off and on several times to say "thanks." The other day, i made room for a pickup to merge onto the freeway, and the driver alternately blinked each of his turn signals twice (Left Right Left Right). I'm pretty sure he was saying thanks.
johan, Mar 29 2000
  

       For years I've been meaning to hook up a switch to my backup lights, so I can flash them at tailgaters. I've also fantasized about hanging a retroreflector (3 mirrors at 90 degree angles) from my rearview mirror so that highbeamers or SUVs are dazzled by their own light pollution.
rmutt, Mar 30 2000
  

       ...that reminds me of a story of a famous rally-driver: When he was in the lead in a rally, other cars would follow him and copy his braking patterns on corners. So he had a switch on his steering wheel which he would use keep his brake-lights on while going round a corner for longer than he was actually braking.
hippo, Mar 30 2000
  

       Some automatic brakes for fifth-wheel travel trailers have a little switch that will turn on the brake lights...Used this to good effect once on a tailgater in my mom's truck...He was so close we couldn't see the hood, so I flipped the switch and he nearly went into the ditch trying to stop. Was really funny...I like the idea of the three-corner reflector, too...
StarChaser, Mar 30 2000
  

       How about a stock ticker like device that you can pre-program with various messages like "back off, your way too close" .... Just a thought
kevin, Jul 19 2000
  

       Or preferably, "back off, you're way too close".   

       (...Bad hippo, BAD hippo! - You mustn't correct people's grammar on HalfBakery! Go to your room!)
hippo, Jul 20 2000
  

       Alright already!!! So my grammer sux... but the idea was cool anyways... so how about "GET OFF THE F-ING ROAD HIPPO!!!" formerly Kevin now...
sunny2, Jul 21 2000
  

       What was wrong with 'Kevin'?   

       The danger with a stock ticker (although it would look cool) is that people with poor eyesight (who, perhaps shouldn't be driving anyway) might have to tailgate in order to read it.
hippo, Jul 24 2000
  

       Whatever happened to giving someone the finger?
AfroAssault, Sep 14 2000
  

       For some reason, in some states, giving people the finger is actually *gasp* illegal now. Road rage and all that. A ticker would probably also be bad, btw, considering some of the messages the not-so-mature citizens of our world would attempt to flash others.
dagrrl, Oct 01 2000
  

       See link for cool bike communication device.
hippo, Jun 14 2001
  

       Ooo, I want four of those for my car...probably be a bit too fast at 75, though...
StarChaser, Jun 14 2001
  
      
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