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# Blue-Green taillights, Red brake lights.

Dim red taillights are not logical.
 (+5, -1) [vote for, against]

Recently, while on the interstate, I noticed something I have seen many times before. Someone had incorrectly wired their taillights. The normal state of the lights was bright red. When the driver applied brakes, the lights turned to dim red. A reversal of the normal dim/bright setup, respectively.

This got me thinking. Dim red taillights don’t make sense at all. Green is the accepted go color, and red is the accepted stop color. Taillights in the dim state should logically be dim green, to represent: “Go. Your surrounding drivers are in their normal state.” Green traffic signals imply the same: “Everything is normal, continue driving.”

When a signal goes red, you slow down or stop. When a driver brakes, and you see bright red taillights, you slow down or stop. Red then, is the accepted “stop” color. Dim red taillights should not represent the normal moving state of a car. They should be blue-green. Also, if this were implemented, bright red traffic signals and brake lights would have much more contrast. An intersection that requires a stop, or a car that is braking would stand out more in a sea or green.

If this were adopted, new features could be implemented, such as proportional brake lights. Varying the brightness of red could represent light, medium, and hard braking. With the current scheme, bright red can mean either a slight speed adjustment or abrupt, middle-of-the-road stops. Bright red it all we see.

With this new setup, I would also propose the following: Applying a turn signal while NOT braking would be represented by alternating dim and bright blue-green. Braking and applying the turn signal at the same time would be represented by an alternation between bright blue-green, and red brake lights. With this, a driver would be able to know both turning intent and braking level, even when both are being performed simultaneously. This is difficult to discern with the current scheme; Bright red is the color that represents both intent to turn and braking.

I believe drivers would be quick to adapt.

Simply put: Red means stop, without exceptions. Green means go, without exceptions.

 — JRandMoby, Feb 27 2003

Or change the brake lights... http://www.halfbake...et_20brake_20lights
[egbert, Oct 04 2004]

An assortment of possibilities . . . http://bz.pair.com/fun/blugrnred.html
04 Feb 03 | I wanted to see what it might look like. [36Kb image] [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

If you're not logged in, you can see what this page looks like, but you will not be able to add anything.
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I'm afraid that that would make it impossible for my poor eyesight to tell if the stop-light in the distance is really green, or if it is just another tailight. I might be inclined to creep up and accelerate rather than decelerate and ease into a queue of waiting cars. In addition, what color would the lights be if the car is placed in neutral without any brakes being applied (but stopped none-the-less)?
 — pathetic, Feb 28 2003

Coincidentally enough, GreenMeansGo was my nic in a defunct Los Angeles site.
Did you take colo(u)rblindness into consideration?
 — thumbwax, Feb 28 2003

 As far as red-green colour blindness goes, there would be no visible change from what we have at the moment, shirley? I like the idea of a graduated brakelight intensity.

 In Europe, turn signals are orange, so we're already halfway towards colour differentiation. We have discussed different coloured lights before at the halfbakery (link).

NB the miswire you mentioned was probably due to a bad earth connection with the body. Electricity follows all sorts of weird paths if it can't find a connection to the car body where it's expecting one.
 — egbert, Feb 28 2003

 ...... including the one through the metal plate in [egbert's] skull .....

 I'm sure there is some merit in considering the use of other colours of light for vehicle signalling.

In the UK, doctors on an emergency call are permitted to use a flashing green beacon on their vehicle.
 — 8th of 7, Feb 28 2003

The tail lights are only really to tell you where the back end of the vehicle is at night, whether it is moving or stopped. Having them blue would make it harder to differentiate from emergency services vehicles in Europe. Would the green lights of vehicles queued at a traffic light be mistaken for a green signal? The implication with red tail lights is stop, there's a car here.
 — oneoffdave, Feb 28 2003

 It's all about effective communication. If you have found a more efficient of effective system of letting people know that the person ahead is braking then you have to balance that against the overhead of communicating this wonderfun new idea to the x billion drivers in the world.

Your idea would not only have to address this mass communication but also cope with the transition of existing cars which, to someone looking out for green tail lights, are constantly shouting, 'STOP' with their red ones.
 — st3f, Feb 28 2003

 I see more smashed tail light lenses (which consequently display a bright white light on the back of the car) than incorrectly wired cars.

Coloured bulbs, rather than lenses?
 — Mayfly, Feb 28 2003

 Red means caution, be careful, be alert, pay attention. Red means "this is the back end of my car." Dim red means "Yes, I am moving, but be sure you slow down and/or stop before you drive into me."

Fishbone. You don't "go" into the back of a car.
 — waugsqueke, Feb 28 2003

White for the front, black for the back, surely?
 — pottedstu, Feb 28 2003

With the advent of the '3rd light' on U.S. cars it's easy enough to tell when someone is braking, regardless of lamp brightness. Perhaps what's needed are dedicated brake lights - completely separate from the running lights. This would eliminate all confusion as well as solving the color=blind issue.
 — phoenix, Feb 28 2003

I also hate it when cars have red turn signals instead of yellow.
 — jonman, Feb 28 2003

This sounds frighteningly similar to our current preschool style of national terror alerts...
 — Brain Fuct, Feb 28 2003

Can't we see red from farther away than green when they're the same intensity or something?
 — snarfyguy, Feb 28 2003

Red light tends to keep our night vision intact. We used them extensively at night at sea in the US Navy.
 — phoenix, Feb 28 2003

 I read (in Discover, I think) that our eyes are most sensitive to green. As for the other colors, I think we're more sensitive to red than violet. It was kind of a jagged arch.

Anyways, *some* really new vehicles in the US have one set that only indicate brake status, and one that either stay dim or blink (depending on signal status).
 — galukalock, Feb 28 2003

the question of different kinds/colors of lights being legal or illegal in different states is ridiculous. they should be nationally recognized. for example, i've noticed that a lot of newer luxury/sports sedans (bmw/mercedes/lexus/etc.) have been equipped with clear side markers and front signals instead of the usual amber/yellow. i talked to my tuning shop about putting these on my car, but was told that they're not legal. if that's true, why would they come stock on so many cars? apparently they're legal in some states, but upon further research, i found that all of the cars i saw with them afterwards were in fact from california (my state). so apparently the laws surrounding different kinds of lights vary greatly, even within states.
 — bitfox, Feb 28 2003

This is a horrible idea. The purpose of red lights on the back of cars has been made clear by other posters. I would hate to be driving in front of the person who relies on whether my brake lights are illuminated to allow sufficient following distance.
I vote against just on the basis of ignorance of common sense. Far too many drivers are idiots, drunk or sober, capable of killing themselves and innocent people. No reason to exacerbate dangers with this foolishness.
Simply put: Red means there's a car in front of you. Don't go into it.
 — roby, Mar 01 2003

// An intersection that requires a stop, or a car that is braking would stand out more in a sea or green.//
We'd all be a bit safer if you paid attention to other cues, like road signs, warning lights, overhead semaphores, stop signals etc. to tell you when to stop.
Some of us drive manual transmission cars, and when we're stopped, we don't need to keep our foot on the brake. And most drivers take foot off brake when starting off. Your idea would provide no improvement on the lack of visual distinction between car accelerating from 10 KPH and car cruising at 100 KPH. Are both equally safe to "go" behind?
 — roby, Mar 01 2003

Safe driving requires vigilance. The result of this idea would be to increase complacency. Complacency + driving = tragedies.

 — roby, Mar 01 2003

bee, that comment is a display of animosity.
With the proliferation of different designs of tail lenses from year to year from manufacturers (even on the same model, mind you), there is certain to be some amount of *is that guys lights woiking all right?* as indicated in the first paragraph of the idea. I see miswired lights on a daily basis - sloppy electrical woik by auto/body repairmen or shadetree mechanics is the culprit. Some folks don't have tail lights on at all, and don't realize it - they just think their cigarette lighter's out and that's it - not giving a second thought to the fact that *hey* - there's not a fuse dedicated to the cigarette lighter, but guess what - it's usually wired from the same fuse that controls the tail lights, lock, stock and barrel.
If there's one change that ought to be made at the manufacturing level - it's simply a broken circuit indicator light, which could light up on the dash *Fuse* - screw this annotation, I'm'a-gonna post that right now...
 — thumbwax, Mar 01 2003

 //Your idea would provide no improvement on the lack of visual distinction between car accelerating from 10 KPH and car cruising at 100 KPH. Are both equally safe to "go" behind?//

Also, a red light means "stay behind the red light", while a green light means "proceed through the green light". Which is better: if motorists stay behind other motorists' tail lights or proceed through them?
 — supercat, Mar 01 2003

 [roby]: Au contraire, I think the poster of the idea has rather more common sense than many of us. He's just trying to clear up an ambiguity. Implementing new color systems that have no intrinsic meaning (not that red and green do) may not be the most intuitive way to do it, but I think it makes for a lively and worthwhile discussion.

 The poster of the idea seems like a caeful and thoughtful driver to me. I'd go for a ride with him/her. And what's up with the drunken killer refences?

And why are you getting so wound up about how many votes this has? Relax.
 — snarfyguy, Mar 01 2003

[snarfyguy] //He's just trying to clear up an ambiguity. //
What ambiguity? Red lights mean you're looking at the back of a car. That's pretty simple.
Other than that, it sounds like he's looking for some kind of mental short cut to actually paying attention to what's happening on the road.
This is an irrational and dangerous idea and I personally don't want to see it gain any traction.
The mental image I get of this driver is someone who feels a little overwhelmed by all the lights on the road driving at night, and is annoyed at lights that don't mean what he or she expects them to mean. I say, that's the real world, and you should stop fantasizing about how to make it simpler for you and learn to deal with its complexities safely. Or don't drive.
//Drunken killer?// I don't want to extend my rant. See MADD website [link]. Drivers with diminished capacities would definitely get messed up by this 'green means go' schema and plow into someone idling at an intersection.
You can ride with him/her. I'd rather stay off the road.
 — roby, Mar 01 2003

Personally, I'd like to see strobelights for license plate lamps....when you hit your brakes the strobe goes off...mirror ball optional...works great in the fog too...could assign a new meaning to traffic jam. A strobe on the front could have a remote controlled mirror that shuts off streetlights at will...the possibilities are endless...
 — sinewave, Mar 01 2003

...anyhoo - what I was going to eventually say, before I ran off and posted an idea which has not gone over well, was this:

There is an inherent flaw in the idea:
If the wires get crossed, it won't simply be a matter of light red/bright red being mixed up - it'll be a matter of seeing red instead of green, and green instead of red. The consequences, of course - would mean that someone who sees a green tail light instead of a red brake light, would be more apt to plow into them than if the current method were left as is. waugsqueke summed it up neatly quite some time ago, and - unfamiliar with the terrain of the 'bakery as roby may be, there's good reason for roby to be mortified at the prospect of such a green/red system.
 — thumbwax, Mar 01 2003

Lights with clear lenses and colored sub-sections are much more difficult to recycle, and usually more expensive overall.
 — RayfordSteele, Mar 02 2003

 I feel as though I must defend myself… Which is pretty sad on a site that I have always considered fun, adult, and constructive.

 Your accusations of ballot stuffing are unwarranted. I have been an occasional contributor to this site for over a year now. I don’t stay up at night thinking of ways to get my post more votes. The only vote I cast for this idea was from my own JRandMoby account. If someone truly cares enough to investigate, feel free -- You won’t find any alias accounts. Basically roby, you need to grow up and quit acting like a whiny little child… or find another website for your juvenile ranting. When did constructive criticism turn into immature accusations on HalfBakery? Maybe my idea is getting votes because it is a *gasp* good idea.

 Secondly, I don’t mean to imply that you are to “go” into the back of another car. I proposed blue-green, or maybe even plain blue, because I want red to be reserved for only one meaning – stop or slow down. The idea that drivers would “go” into another car does not make sense – you are missing the whole point. Drivers would adapt to this new system. The whole point is to make the meaning of red more concrete. Also, our current lighting setup simply can’t convey everything mine does. Simple bright and dim red cannot easily communicate braking level and turning intent simultaneously.

And snarfyguy, thank you… I’m not the best writer, but I’m glad someone fully understands what I was trying to say. I want the roadway to be cleared of ambiguity.
 — JRandMoby, Mar 02 2003

The most pertinent point is color-blindness. That alone would likely rule out a color change being implemented.
 — DrCurry, Mar 02 2003

Yup - 's what I decried at the beginning. Where's StarChaser when you need 'em?
 — thumbwax, Mar 02 2003

You know that makes perfect sense, but it hasn't stopped the use of red/green for stop/go traffic lights.
 — waugsqueke, Mar 02 2003

Welcome back!

Your system fails to address numerous scenarios where blue-green are the only lights shown, but the car may be stopped, moving substantially slower than the flow of traffic, or even braking, if brake lights are not working or miswired.

And if drivers were conditioned that blue-green lights indicate, as you say "Go. Your surrounding drivers are in their normal state," we'd see a lot of problems when they realized they should not have made that assumption.

One of my objections here is cars that look like they are "going" (blue-green lights)" can be in fact more of a danger and concern than cars that are clearly "braking" (bright red brake lights). For example, a car ahead of you applying his brakes to drop from 100 KPH to 95 KPH can be easily accommodated. That car would be showing the alarming brake lights. Meanwhile, a sputtering vehicle showing only blue-green tail lights, which for any number of mechanical reasons is limping along, slowing, or even accelerating but is moving 25 KPH when you approach is of huge concern. Yet your lighting schema would have conditioned drivers to only be wary of the guy tapping his brakes to slow down to 95, and be unconcerned about the slow vehicle you are about to "Go" into!

I want you to understand clearly why this idea wouldn't work. Once you do, it will make you a better driver. And that's a good thing. We need more alert drivers who are trained to be watchful, not conditioned to be less vigilant about some vehicles based on the color lights displayed.

You're right that it doesn't help to rail against the impracticality of this idea. It's largely a fantasy, so it doesn't actually pose any real threat.

I'm just more concerned about the implied philosophy behind the idea, that the problem to be solved is not a safety issue, but a driver's mental convenience, annoyance at the ambiguity posed by other vehicle's brake lights malfunctioning.

The roadways will never be cleared of ambiguity. You have to deal with that in a positive frame of mind to drive safely.
 — roby, Mar 02 2003

[roby] your link to madd is off-topic. If the author of this idea wants it gone than he or she is quite free to do that and with the expectation that you will not post it again.
 — bristolz, Mar 02 2003

[bristolz] //...you're arguing against any sort of additional driving-condition indicatiors being added to a vehicle based on your theory that they will, somehow, cause complacency, or lower vigilance in drivers.//

I'm not arguing that at all. Sorry if I haven't made that clear. I'm arguing against this particular schema of driving condition indicators because it can too likely provide wrong data to a driver, and if they develop any reliance on this unreliable system, then they could make fatal errors that cannot be taken back.

Of course, JRandMoby you are free to re-delete the link to MADD that I posted, as well as any annotation. I'm only making a request that you leave it up, not a demand. Thanks.
 — roby, Mar 02 2003

 this is a fine idea. the MADD link is a little much. as for the colorblindness thing, well, just make the taillights another color besides green, red, or blue. it doesn't matter what color, as long as it's different from the brake light color.

sheesh.
 — SquidInk, Mar 03 2003

<zirc waggles pop-science hips> shurley we could mount some kind of doppler analyser on the front of cars, and a white (all spectrum) light on the back, then your car would know whether the car infront was moving away or towasds it by means of observing blue or red shift. </zirc waggles pop-science hips>
 — Zircon, Mar 04 2003

[squidink] Could you please elaborate on why you think it's a fine idea? How do you address the specific objections I've posed? Thanks.
 — roby, Mar 04 2003

 roby- I have once again deleted your link to MADD. Please do not post it again. It is off topic. I have also deleted some of your pointless and antagonistic posts. They are off topic. I have left everything that pertains to the subject. Someone reading this for the first time shouldn’t have to sort through such unnecessary posts to get to the meat of the discussion. I like this idea, and I would like to stay on track. Thanks.

 Now, back on topic:

 IMHO, the best issue raised so far is the possibility of malfunction/miswiring. You are correct – An error with my scheme could be more dangerous than an error with simple red – but by the time this would be ready to roll out, probably many decades in the future, everything will be made with LEDs and computer controlled (the industry is already leaning towards this). Grounding issues would be minimal with new technology. Also, with the level of technology today, I can only imagine how cars will self-diagnose years from now.

 Related to the above issue is something someone brought up much earlier in this discussion: Implementation. Having half of the cars on the road conforming to this new format and half using the old red would be a nightmare. As I said before, the industry is moving towards LEDs. They have an incredible lifespan, burn cool, and are becoming cheaper everyday. RGB arrays are being used for just about everything now. I would propose the following: All cars would be required to have blue-green capability (or another color, if decidedly better), but would not actually begin to use the new scheme until a set date in the future. Say you bought a car in 2005. The manufacturer would have the car programmed to conform to simple red until 2030, when the car would switch over to blue-green. No modifications would be necessary. For the very small minority of pre-2005 cars still on the road, mandatory retrofitting would be necessary to pass inspection.

 //Your system fails to address numerous scenarios where blue-green are the only lights shown, but the car may be stopped, moving substantially slower than the flow of traffic, or even braking, if brake lights are not working or miswired.//

 Everything stated here is already present in the current simple red scheme, when dim red is the only thing shown. Also, you are hinging a lot of this on a technicality that has been addressed above.

 //And if drivers were conditioned that blue-green lights indicate, as you say "Go. Your surrounding drivers are in their normal state," we'd see a lot of problems when they realized they should not have made that assumption.//

 Once again roby, this is already present with the simple red scheme. Drivers are already conditioned to think their surrounding cars are in their normal state with dim red. Changing the color would not make this problem any worse. Blue-Green won’t make assumptive drivers any more assumptive.

 //One of my objections here is cars that look like they are "going" (blue-green lights)" can be in fact more of a danger and concern than cars that are clearly "braking" (bright red brake lights).//

 This is not very different from your other objections. Making taillights blue will only make a braking car more CLEAR to other drivers. Once again, this problem is already present with the simple red scheme, and my scheme would not make this any worse… It would obviously improve it. Why can’t you see this? I am trying to make the various driving states of cars easier to distinguish from each other, so more drivers can easily assess their surroundings.

 //I want you to understand clearly why this idea wouldn't work. Once you do, it will make you a better driver.//

 Excuse me? I pride myself as a very safe and responsible driver. Once you realize why this is a GOOD idea, albeit halfbaked, maybe you would see the flaws in our current system. You are correct; the roadway will never be cleared of ambiguity… But I just don’t understand why you are so resistant to lessening ambiguity. Would no idicator lights at all make people better drivers???

Bristolz said it best: //...you're arguing against any sort of additional driving-condition indicators being added to a vehicle based on your theory that they will, somehow, cause complacency or lower vigilance in drivers.//
 — JRandMoby, Mar 04 2003

Agree with UnaBubba. The extra brake lights in middle, or lighting up vertical pillars, or even flashing, as I've seen, are helpful.

White back-up lights work well because they evoke white headlamps of an oncoming vehicle--which is exactly what a vehicle backing toward you is doing.
 — roby, Mar 04 2003

[JRandMoby] All my annos are still here, so thanks for not deleting them.
I can see that this isn't as obvious to some people as it is to me, and that doesn't make you bad, or me good.
One way to understand this is to remember that all drivers are assumptive, not just some. It's human nature to seek to organize our visual stimuli into familiar patterns, so that we can more easily distinguish the deviations. This is key to threat appraisal. In that light, I appreciate that you mean well with your 'blue-green' idea.
The current red taillight schema has achieved permanence for good reasons. Red does, and always should, evoke the notion that it signifies at a minimum an object to be avoided. Even vehicles with electrical failures will reflect back red when illuminated with headlamps. Trailers with defective or nonexistent wiring, non-motorized vehicles, all have red reflectors.
It's counter to public safety for drivers to develop a more relaxed association to certain vehicles based on seeing blue-green instead of red. Imagine you're cresting a hill, and see in front of you all of a sudden two cars: one with brake lights in right lane is going 80 KPH, and the car with blue-green lights is stopped in the left lane. Under your schema the driver would instinctively pull left, which may well be absolutely wrong, fatal choice.
Drivers are already properly conditioned that red implies caution, be alert. So cresting that hill seeing red lights of various intensity, drivers would not make a lightning inference that the red tail lights are an indication that one lane is safer, but would have an automatic instinct to do everything possible to avoid both cars and seek more clues as to what action to take.
Critical driving decisions must often be made in split seconds, instinctively, without cognitive processing.
Red is well ingrained to evoke caution, from stop lights to signal flares. It's not like people have or will be somehow conditioned to forget what red signifies within the context of interstate cruising at night. Red lights show us we're looking at the back of a car ahead of us. It may or may not be a threat, so I'll have to assess it's relative speed etc. to make sure. Changing the taillight color to blue-green suggests that drivers should relax and make fewer other assessments about it. Not a good idea.
I haven't said anything about implementation problems yet. I thought they were already obvious. But your proposed scenario would not work. The issue isn't vehicles, it's drivers. Drivers with years of experience in one system should not be expected to succeed in a dramatically different system, especially when the consequences of error are so deadly. Make people switch from english to metric, but don't force a confusing color schema on something as important as driving safety.

//blue-green...won't make assumptive drivers more assumptive//
Assumptive is OK. The current assumption is that you should be wary of something with red lights. That's good.

Think more about the immense variety of driving conditions that people encounter much more frequently than interstate cruising.
Night driving in counties all around the country entails being able to handle and assess countless unexpected situations of cars idling, accelerating from stops, slowing without brakes, turning, going too slow, too fast, coasting, stopped where they shouldn't be, zoning out at a green light in neutral, and so on and so on. This is where a majority of the accidents and tragedies occur.

//Taillights in the dim state should logically be dim green, to represent: "Go. Your surrounding drivers are in their normal state."//

In typical light-overloaded night time non-interstate driving no one should start thinking that. Blue-green taillights would confuse and just as often imply false information.
The point is that current red tail lights DO NOT represent the message to "Go. Your surrounding drivers are in their normal state."
Your desire is to make brake lights stand out significantly from tail lights. That's fine. I think the current system works pretty well, but I encourage you to propose even more distinctive ideas, if you can see where improvements can be made. As long as (you know what I'm going to say) rear lights stay red.
 — roby, Mar 04 2003

To add to roby's point, if a motorist is driving along and notices he's coming up toward an unidentified red light, his reaction will be to ensure he can safely stop behind it regardless of whether it's a traffic signal, tail light, brake lamp, or road flare. By contrast, a green light would be as a signal that slowing down or stopping won't be necessary.
 — supercat, Mar 04 2003

Hey! the one post of mine you did delete was my short joke about finding my sense of humor. Now that you've deleted that one everyone will just think I'm some sort of a long-winded perseverating curmudgeon without a sense of humor...
Oh, wait, ... never mind.
 — roby, Mar 04 2003

Hehe.
 — bristolz, Mar 04 2003

Is someone deleting annos or is Roby holding a long winded, perseverating curmudgeonly conversation with his elf?
 — egbert, Mar 04 2003

(my elf)
Probably expect responses stating every verifiable, empirical reason against this idea non gratis.
 — roby, Mar 04 2003

Considering that most of the drivers on the road today fail to understand the concept of a turn signal, much less use one, I feel this would be too complicated. In addition, red is universally seen as being "caution" and we definately need more of that. The last thing we need are false senses of security.
 — rapid transit, May 18 2003

"... most drivers?" I think not.
 — bristolz, May 18 2003

 I also had this idea several years ago and I'm thrilled to find this site with this on it! After reading all of these opinions, nobody has really put any serious thought to it. If there were one green and one red tail light on each side of the car, with the brakes applied all four tail lights would change to bright red to indicate braking. Brakes not applied would show as green and red. At times the distinct green/red or red/red could be seen several cars ahead and just maybe prevent an accident by allowing a split-second more reaction time. If it could possibly save one life- would you want it?

-jeff30
 — jeff30, Nov 25 2003

Cars should have the same lights as planes, Red for the port side, Green for the Starboard side, a flashing beacon on the roof and a couple of strobes, possibly a different coloured one on the bottom of the car, so you know when its upside down.
 — Micky Dread, Nov 25 2003

 Red on one side, green on the other would, due to the refractive index of my glasses, give me the disconcerting feeling while driving at night that all the cars ahead of me were listing about 5%.

 Long ago, [waugsqueke] noted that red and green worked fine for traffic lights for the colorblind. That's not true. Most colorblind people have trouble discerning at least two of the standard colors on a light. However, convention almost always has them in the same order from top to bottom. (Anecdotal evidence says that in the stupid, stupid cities with horizontal traffic lights, they take their cues from drivers around them until they learn which side is supposed to be red.)

This leads into why I can't see this working for taillights: there's no standard positioning. The third light could be emerging as a standard, but it isn't one yet. Lights of different colors but in the same place just don't cut it--and for the same reason, lights of different _intensity_ already do.
 — darksasami, Nov 26 2003

 //(Anecdotal evidence says that in the stupid, stupid cities with horizontal traffic lights, they take their cues from drivers around them until they learn which side is supposed to be red.)//

 I don't think I've ever seen a horizontal traffic signal in the USA in which the left side wasn't equivalent to the top and the right side to the bottom.

 //This leads into why I can't see this working for taillights: there's no standard positioning. The third light could be emerging as a standard, but it isn't one yet. Lights of different colors but in the same place just don't cut it--and for the same reason, lights of different _intensity_ already do.//

If you see an even number of red lights, it's either a tail light or an old vehicle's brake light. If an odd number greater than 1, it's a new vehicle's brake light.
 — supercat, Nov 30 2003

 hello...

 i found this and i'm intrigued...

 my eyes do a funny thing when i'm overly tired (and sometimes for no reason at all)...

 i get red-green reversal...

 as in, i approach a traffic light, and realize that it shouldn't be green on top...so i stop.

 if i blink a few times, things generally go back to normal, but it has taken up to 30 minutes for my eyes to readjust.

 i generally approach traffic lights with extreme caution until i'm close enough to see the position of the light.

 because of this disfunction, i know exactly how it feels to drive behind a sea of green lights.

 its harsh. green is a very bright color.

 oh, and i was thinking:

 red lights grow in intensity both when suddenly applied as well as when one is rapidly approaching a slow/stopped vehicle...lights seem brighter as you grow closer.

 green would not allow for this, unfortunately.

 nice to meet yall,

spy
 — fccspygrrl, Dec 24 2003

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