Hazard lights, not much gonna on here, right?
You push the little button with the red triangle on it, they go on and off make that great clicking sound.
Then you turn them off.
It looks like there's nothing gonna on here.
But in fact, there's a lot of safety tech in these simple devices and there could be a lot more coming soon.
Let me show you.
Now a lot of folks seem to treat hazard lights as you may have noticed as kind of this optional convenience feature that they may or may turn on.
California law anyway says you must.
Anytime your car is disabled on any part of a public road and yet so often See that without these I don't know why.
Regardless of what you think about the laws around hazard lights, these are smart, great safety tech.
A recent report by impact research in the Journal of accident analysis and prevention indicates that over 70,000 people a year are involved in car emergencies and collisions involving what scientists call low con biscuity events.
In other words, someone didn't see you and your stalled car.
95% of those involved in moving car hitting a disabled car, though the much less frequent scenario of a moving car hitting a person outside the disabled car owner or Good Samaritan is by far the scariest With 22% of those victims severely injured and 19% or 300 people killed every year.
Now, as you might imagine, the folks at NASA are pretty good at things like warning lights and their line of business.
That certainly helps.
They've got something called the color usage research lab and they lay out a whole guidebook on what makes a warning indicator really effective to the human eye, and most of it can be extrapolated to the car's hazard lights.
A bigger tail light makes for a better hazard light and that's been a trend in most Auto design.
Anyway with a few notable exceptions.
Does a modern 911 even have tail lights?
Hazard lights ideally should be in the shape of a familiar stop sign, a go around arrow or an international hazard triangle.
But good luck getting car designers to work that into their beautiful rear ends.
The car is not there's
a case study cited by London borough University found that amber and green lights register most in our center of vision While blue seems to register better in our peripheral vision, but of course yellow and green are already taken by traffic signals, and some state local laws that say flashing amber is only for tow trucks, construction vehicles and the like.
And blue of course is generally dedicated to fire law enforcement as is forward facing red, which leaves us with not much choice for rear hazards except typically read Amber in the front of course.
Largely because those colours are already installed ,for turn signals and stop lamps.
This really began to improve in the late 80s with brighter bulbs, and then again in the 2000s, as LED modules began to proliferate.
Honestly, my personal opinion I think we've come as far as we need to on that aspect.
Rear lights are so bright now that if they got any brighter they would actually your night vision item in the herbal regulations.
They now can be no lower is off the ground and that's unusual No higher than 72 inches off the ground that explains how some of those SUVs these days can have those long towering lights.
Those are legal up to six feet off the ground.
Also the lights should generally be centred across the vertical midline of whatever constitutes the back end of the car on an SUV.
That's a big tall panel right?
On a sedan like this, it's a much narrower area.
Look at some vintage cars like an early 911 or an E type.
And you'll see basically all the above done wrong.
Small dim tail lights not so low you hardly notice them with slow, lazy flashing patterns or prior to 1968.
Didn't require hazard flashes at all.
Or on imports, they were often jury rig that the US port of entry.
And finally, and most interesting for the future is the temporal factor.
The rate, the NASA color lab looks at this in two ways.
One is the actual rate of flash, pulses over time The other one is the depth of contrast or the cycling of that flash.
How bright is Fulbright?
How deep is the valley to dim or does it go to full dark and of course that with spacing, that's your pulse or frequency.
You've got some interesting factors in there.
That's where at least one company is trying to bring to bear its patented design to say look, we can improve all of that.
First of all hazards would remain manually activated by a button but there would be a double press on that button.
The second press would activate a faster more urgent flashing rate.
Secondly, automatic activation no button required whenever the vehicle sensors detect a major impact.
Or airbag deployment or maybe even a tire blowout from the TPMS sensor that would automatically activate the hazards.
And third, as you kind of figure it out, generally faster flash rates four hertz or times per second or higher, which maps well to the other research and what NASA suggests Sounds great and really not that hard to implement, right?
Let's do it.
Except for one problem, the only thing which moves slower than tectonic plates is US federal vehicle lighting regulations.
It was only in the early 80s Is that we weren't able to get cars where you could replace the bulb in the headlight and not the entire headlight.
That was a regulatory thing.
And even today in 2021, we can't get these really smart adaptive beam forming headlights you'll find in some European cars that have the high beams on all the time and just carve away the part of the beam that would blind an oncoming car.
It's a way better way to light the road but we can't get it.
Now some of you may say wait a minute I've been on the road and I've seen cars with really bright high rate flashing lights like this.
You may have but kind of by accident.
You see what happens is folks will go in and replace their lights with LED bulbs.
We showed you how to do this in a video race.
Simply, the LED bulbs draw so little current, they confuse the car's lighting control computer into thinking the bulb is actually blown out.
As a courtesy.
The car starts to flash things twice as fast to get your attention that you've got a blown ball even though you don't You can fix this by wiring in this hokey resistor, which most people who do this conversion never do.
As a result, they drive around with what's called hyper flash.
And their hazards and turn signals have a much faster turn rate and because they've gone to LED they have a much higher brightness.
It's kind of falling into the future to be honest.
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