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Turn Signals: Color Matters More Than You Would Think


If we asked you to list all the safety features in your vehicle, you’d probably name the ones that most people think of. Airbags. Lane assist technology. Backup cameras. Crash detection technology. What you wouldn’t name are your turn signals—but you may be surprised to learn that your turn signals actually play a bigger role in safety than you think.

But wait—isn’t that obvious? Don’t we all know that turn signals alert the world that you’re turning, and thus, allow other drivers to yield to you or at least adjust their driving habits accordingly?

Yes—but what isn’t obvious is that it’s the actual color of your turn signals that makes a bigger difference than you may think, when it comes to safety.

Red or Amber?

For many years, the government has been aware that amber turn signals save lives and reduce car accidents, as opposed to red turn signals (and to some extent, the same applied to brake lights). The problem is that many cars have red turn signals, and many drivers are completely unaware of the risk that the color puts them in.

Cars with red turn signals were found to have a 22% higher chance of getting into an accident than cars with amber turn signals.

On cars where the color of the turn signal changed (because of a redesign of the car) from red to amber, there was a 5.3% reduction in the amount of accidents.

The University of Michigan in a study determined that drivers following a car with amber turn signals or amber stop lights, react and stop much faster than they react to red ones.

That’s no small difference. To give you some comparison, in 1986, the government started to mandate a third brake light; that change only reduced accidents by just over 4%. That’s right—a completely extra brake light didn’t reduce accidents as much as just changing the color of the turn signals from red to amber.

The US is Slow to Adapt

Other countries know this already. Many other countries require amber turn signals on cars (red signals have been banned in some countries for 30-50 years), but we in America do not.

This is despite the fact that changing the color of a turn signal costs a manufacturer almost nothing extra. Manufacturers will add expensive radar and technology in vehicles, which costs a significant amount, but won’t simply make the cost efficient change of a color of turn signals.

Some manufacturers do this as a matter of style; others will just arbitrarily rotate between amber and red, just to show off a “new” design, without concern for safety. That leaves it up to purchasers to know and look for the color of turn signals–something most people aren’t even aware of.

Have you been in a car accident? Let us help you get compensation for your injuries. Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for help and a free consultation today.




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