A Design Question: Turn Indicators on Cars

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Image: source

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?

Image: source

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Do Traffic Light Colours Need a Re-look?

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We are all familiar with the three colours on traffic lights. They remain a classic example of universally recognizable design. But are the colours effective and safe, or do they need a re-look?

Colour blindness has been known to affect about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women the world over. That translates to 8% of world population dealing with colour blindness. And the three most common colours that people affected by it have trouble identifying, are red, blue and green.
Also, of these three colours, the most common type of hereditary colour blindness is the red-green colour blindnessAnd males are genetically more prone to be affected by the red-green colour blindness.
Interestingly, red and green are both present on traffic signals. More so, they are used to signify two completely different traffic actions. Combine that with the fact that there is currently a higher percentage of male drivers globally. Could this mean a higher risk of accidents, especially at traffic lights and intersections?
Here’s what red and green look like to someone suffering from Deuteranopia, or red-green colour blindness.
Deuteranopia Color Spectrum
Source: link
One could argue that the mere position of red and green on the light is sufficient to distinguish between them. Which, if taken a step further, could mean that having three lights of a single colour could also serve the purpose.
However, countries like Romania probably don’t agree. Which is why they do not issue driving licences to colour-blind people.
Would it help if country governments considered a completely different set of colours? And while replacing lights across the world would be quite a task, would it be worth the effort?
You could read facts about colour-blindness here: link
Would love your thoughts on this.
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