Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Violet brake lights

Fog penetrating brake lights
  [vote for,

Periodically in the news there is a story about enormous multicar accidents which occur in foggy areas, because people are moving quickly, in rush hour traffic, and do not see that the car ahead of them is braking until too late.

This is a flaw in the brake lights. They are the wrong color. Long wavelength red light has the least penetrating power of any color - as divers who have cut themselves at depth will notice when they bleed green. In really foggy conditions, I have approached a green light at an intersection, then had it go yellow, then completely disappear until I got closer.

Violet light is the most penetrating and makes the most sense for visibility through fog or haze. It may be possible to devise a bezel which emits a combination of normal brakelight red and the deep blue of a runway light. If this light looked red enough in non-foggy conditions, they might meet current legal requirements. Conversely, the optional central cyclops light could be switched to one of pure blue - still enough to warn drivers behind you.

bungston, Oct 19 2002


       I have seen something like this on certain street rod type custom cars. Distinctly violet and bright.
bristolz, Oct 19 2002

       "blue dots". Illegal in many states. Been around for many, many years. Interesting, intense violet appearance at night as the eye tries to focus both the short blue and long red wavelengths at the same time.
half, Oct 19 2002

       Violet is such a pretty color, too.
rabbit, Oct 19 2002

       Red Brake lights in the fog, I don't have a problem with. I have more difficulty with amber turning indicators in sunrise/sunset conditions, and have wondered for many years why these aren't coloured blue. Perhaps half has the answer..
yamahito, Oct 20 2002

       My late lamented '48 Ford ragtop 'rod (stroked and punched 427 bowtie mill, shaved heads, cammed, headers, turbo 350, Hurst shifter, 4.11 gears and posi, Goodyear rubber wrapping American Mags) had the little violet inserts, but an old judge decided they were a hazard. After that I circumvented the law by cementing the little plastic dots on the inside of the lenses: outta sight, outta mind... tsk, tsk... but I was a wild and rebellious youth at the time.
whlanteigne, Oct 20 2002

       Good idea. Croissant.
8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

       i like the idea, but goes completely against people's instincts of colours - when people see red, they instinctively get agitated, because it sets off warning signals within the brain. conversely, violet is a warm, welcoming, pretty (to use rabbit's terminology) colour, so people would feel relaxed when the brake light of the car in front was activated. i don't know, maybe i've just had too much coffee today...
iain, Oct 21 2002

       UB: Some newer ambulalnces around here are entirely day-glo yellow, and have strobes on the top. The strobes help in the fog, and I think they're starting to rig the traffic lights to turn red all ways when a strobe is coming.
Mr Burns, Oct 21 2002

       I'm noticing more fire engines being painted a very bright yellow. It distresses my son who, of course, believes they should only be red.   

       ([whlanteigne] turbo 350 mated to a big block, isn't that turbo 400 territory? And why a Hurst shifter with an automatic, or was it just a Hurst shift knob on the gear selector?)
bristolz, Oct 21 2002

       There are plenty of aftermarket performance/race shifting mechanisms for automatic transmissions. Ratcheting shifters, "slapstick", B&M's "Quick Silver", etc.   

       (later): someone will surely correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the transmission mounting is the same on a big block and small block Chevy.
half, Oct 21 2002

       Ah, thanks, [half], that makes sense. I wasn't sure--I'm remembering Hurst as something I've seen on manual shift cars. And I certainly don't mean to deflate. I'm just curious.
bristolz, Oct 21 2002


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