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"Turn indicating" blue lights for emergency service vehicles

A simple improvement
  [vote for,

Emergency service vehicles use flashing blue lights to indicate they are on a call.

The modern Xenon stobe lights are very bright compared to conventional vehicle lamps, and have a tendency to dazzle. They are also liberally distributed over the vehicle at both high and low level.

This can make it difficult in some circumstances for other motorists to detect the activation of the turn signals, leading well-meaning drivers who genuinely wish to clear a path for the vehicle unintentionally getting in its way, i.e. by pulling up in the entrance to a side road.

The solution is simple. When the driver activates his turn signal, the strobes on the opposite side of the vehicle are shut off. Thus the conventional turn signals are supplemented by the action of the strobe lamps, showing other motorists very clearly the direction in which the vehicle intends to move.

8th of 7, Oct 22 2008


       Brilliant - more than once, I've been caught out by police vehicles which have alternate flashing headlights, which all but mask the turn indicators. [+]
coprocephalous, Oct 22 2008

       not really a half-baked idea... it's very sensible.
conskeptical, Oct 22 2008

       mm, yes, no mention of bluetooth or anything... - a strangely rational, sensible idea.
hippo, Oct 22 2008

       // no mention of bluetooth //   

       True .... sorry. Maybe the switching could be done by making each strobe a Bluetooth device, would that help ? Or using WiFi ?   

       Perhaps emergency service vehicles could be genetically engineered to have laterally operable beacons ?   

       Perhaps the crew should have to crawl out through a hatch in the roof to operate the switch .... or some sort of hydraulic system filled with custard ?   

       Half-baked enough yet ?
8th of 7, Oct 22 2008

       None at all, go for it. But we want a percentage of the gross ......   

       And tell them that the "operation by custard-filled hydraulics" is COMPULSORY, otherwise the deal is OFF !
8th of 7, Oct 22 2008


       There will be problems if they turn off flashing lights while approaching an intersection. The lights exist because other drivers couldn’t detect emergency vehicles (for various reasons). Even when they know an ambulance is coming, people will still block that side road. I usually just get out of the way, never mind where the truck is turning.   

       Do they even use turn signals? If so, brighter strobes, or a pattern of flashes might work.
Amos Kito, Oct 22 2008

       [Anapholes], only the one (left/right port/starboard) side of the lights turn off. The remaining illumination conveys emergency and directional intent.
4whom, Oct 22 2008

       //only the one//
But they need that light -- they added that light the last time an ambulance was T-boned. Eventually, to make sure inattentive drivers notice the ambulance (and not run into it), it will be entirely sirens and solid banks of strobes, bright as a thousand suns. That should do it. Sure.
Amos Kito, Oct 22 2008

       Maybe they could add flashes of different colours in among the blue flashes. Red for left and green for right is already a standard in other circumstances.
Loris, Oct 22 2008

       All very well to add red and green, but in some circumstances you might be confused as to whether it's a four-alarm fire or the fairground's come to town .....   

       The point of quenching just some of the lights means there is LESS light, not more......
8th of 7, Oct 22 2008

       I think that turning off the blazing glory might make the turn signal look kind of puny. The solution: laterize the blaze of glory. Vehicles that intend to turn will shut off all lights on contralateral side, and rhymically blink the ones on the side for the intended turn.   

       Plus the turn signal light itself could shoot puffs of steam, which would look very neat lit up by all the other lights.
bungston, Oct 24 2008

       //could shoot puffs of steam//
Tanker trucks tend to spill water during turns -- maybe that effect could be put to use. But considering the idea's author, I'd be surprised if the vehicle doesn't fling cats.
Amos Kito, Oct 24 2008

       I think the primary problem is that drivers instinctual response is to freeze in the light of authority stopping in such a way that they clot the road. How many times have i come across a car pulled over on a blind corner with no shoulder obviously endangering everyone involved. A little less reactionism and a little more pragmatism and the driving world would be a safer place. The window for an emergency vehicle turning to communicate to oncoming and stopped traffic is too short to allow for much improvement in the turning and yielding category.
WcW, Oct 26 2008

       but really no different from any other sudden and confusing information. People frequently swerve off the road to avoid deer and skid directly into objects that could be steered around. Even if given the right information many drivers will still fail to make the right response. Engineering sirens and lights that can be detected at a distance (strobes were a huge leap) but that keep people calm (white and blue not yellow and red) and developing sounds that communicate (stop now/move out f the way) would improve compliance. Even if the people directly around the vehicle can see a turn signal the people impeding the route are just as likely to be further away and not able to see the directional indicator.
WcW, Oct 26 2008

       I'd give the nod to laws that forbid passing an emergency vehicle in display of its lights. That would at least give the drivers of said vehicles an opportunity to change lanes as needed and would at the same time provide an unobstructed view of the ES vehicle by approaching or oncoming traffic.   

       Our current laws require motorists stop behind a school bus with its stop lights activated, and this code is rigidly enforced to the tune of about $200 per violation. Our laws currently also require motorists move out one lane from an emergency vehicle with its stop lights activated beside a highway with more than one lane; enforcement and fines vary.
reensure, Oct 27 2008


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