A Design Question: Turn Indicators on Cars
As cars get sleeker, so do its lights. But I’ve noticed that the entire rear light cluster has been shrinking in size on some cars. And in some, the turn indicators are designed or placed in a way that possibly defeats its purpose.
A car’s rear lights cluster includes reversing lights (white), brake warning lights (red) and turn indicator lights (orange or red).
When brakes are applied in a car in front, we notice two things. The red brake lights themselves, and a visual perception of the car slowing down (or increasing in size). Even in the absence of brake lights, we would, albeit not always as fast, realize the car in front of us is slowing down or has stopped, based on visual information processed by our brain. So with the brake lights, that’s two cues for us to slow down.
On the other hand, when a driver plans to turn (especially in developing countries, where there often aren’t demarcated/dedicated lanes for turns (including for u-turns), the only cue we have, is the light. If the driver were to make the turn without using the indicator (which often is the case), there is a higher risk of accidents, especially if the car doesn’t slow down enough before making the turn.
Therefore, could turn lights be more important compared to brake lights, as there are no other cues to alert vehicles behind that a car is going to turn?
So here are some design questions for you.
So should you design turn lights bigger than, equal to, or smaller than brake warning lights? And should they be placed distinctly separate from the red brake lights to make them easier to spot, especially around sunrise and twilight?