Rear-end crashes are the most frequent type of car crashes,
responsible for 30% of injuries and 29.7% of property damage, according to a
Approximately 29.7% of all crashes in 2000 were rear-end crashes,
according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration that also found that young males under 18 years old were the
most likely to be involved in such crashes.
Better brake lights may help solve some of that problem — for all
ages — as engineers and automakers are coming up with new ways for brake lights
to warn drivers of hard braking by something more than the red brake light
An intelligent brake light being developed by Ford could allow your car to know when to
brake long before you do. The light transmits a wireless signal to illuminate a
dashboard light in vehicles behind it, even if they’re around a corner or
behind other traffic.
Ford is testing the new technology in Germany, where researchers
found it could help drivers brake sooner and potentially avoid an accident
altogether. Ford has a patent on the rear collision warning system.
Some new brake light technologies aren’t allowed in the United
States. Strobe brake lights that Mercedes-Benz sells
in cars in Europe aren’t allowed in the U.S. by government regulators, who say
brake lights should only glow more brightly than the taillights and shouldn’t
Mercedes in Europe has cars with brake lights that flash quickly
when hard brake pressure is applied, warning drivers behind them of a sudden
stop. In an online video, driver reaction times were reported to
be shortened by up to 0.2 seconds and reduce the stopping distance.
If the “adaptive brake light” is activated at high
speeds, it remains active until the vehicle comes to a halt, and the hazard
warning system is automatically switched on when the vehicle stops. The hazard
lights can be turned off at any time, or if the car stops in dense moving
traffic and then slowly starts moving again, the hazard lights are turned off.
Mercedes was allowed to begin a trial program for the flashing
brake lights on a few cars in the U.S., according to Popular Mechanics.