Flashing brake lights.

alpg88

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last night saw a brand new camaro with tail lights that flash fast 3 times before turning bright solid, as driver pressed the brakes.

it sure gets your attention, you will definatly notice the driver hit the brakes.

i wonder is it some new thing chevy developed, or it was installed by the owner? wonder if someone else saw similar, or knows anything about.

i sure would like to have my cars lights to do that. may prevent some rear end collisions.
 

Alaric Darconville

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last night saw a brand new camaro with tail lights that flash fast 3 times before turning bright solid, as driver pressed the brakes.
Terrible things, and illegal. Brake lamps, including the CHMSL, are to be steady-burning.

The dealership probably sold/installed it for somewhere around $150.00

i sure would like to have my cars lights to do that. may prevent some rear end collisions.

No, you wouldn't. They are a bad idea. They can add ambiguity to the signaling. Also, imagine the horrible flash-fest that a bunch of cars with this equipped would be in a traffic jam.
 

-Virgil-

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last night saw a brand new camaro with tail lights that flash fast 3 times before turning bright solid, as driver pressed the brakes.

Alaric's answer is 100% correct: what you saw is an illegal, dangerous, and very ill-advised aftermarket add-on.

i sure would like to have my cars lights to do that. may prevent some rear end collisions.

It actually does the opposite of that, because it interferes with following drivers' reflexive reaction to stop (brake) lights. Even a fraction of a second spent figuring out what a nonstandard lighting display means is a fraction of a second not spent slowing down the car, and that often makes the difference between a hit and a miss. This is one of those things that has been studied extensively; we know how this works. "Common sense" doesn't enter into it, no matter how good the idea might seem to you, because the world doesn't work according to "common sense", and neither do human drivers.

Stop (brake) lights are required to burn steadily, not flash. The only exception is "emergency braking display" systems which are permitted to rapidly flash a portion of the stop light array in response to rapid and severe brake pedal application. The threshold value for activation is so high that most drivers would almost never see it even if all cars had it. The system you saw, which flashes the stop lights (or just the central stop light) each time the driver presses the brake, is not allowed.

Making this modification to your car would be an extremely foolish thing to do, and would expose you to significant legal liability in the event of a collision.
 

alpg88

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funny you should mention liability.
i had a lady rear end me, many years ago, and she claimed my stop lights did not work so she didn't not know i was braking. my lights were fine. i know that, and no one cared what she said, neither cops, not my ins. comp. she was still found 100% liable for the accident.
 

-Virgil-

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Many years ago it was pretty easy for a forensic investigator to determine whether the stop lights were lit or unlit at the time of a serious collision: Lit filaments are soft so they stretch; dark filaments are brittle so they break. We don't have that any more with LEDs!
 

Alaric Darconville

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Many years ago it was pretty easy for a forensic investigator to determine whether the stop lights were lit or unlit at the time of a serious collision: Lit filaments are soft so they stretch; dark filaments are brittle so they break.

I remember citing this when someone said that there wasn't any way for investigators to know whether lamps were lit or unlit in the event of a collision. Guess the person didn't understand metallurgy in the slightest.
 
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All of the ambulances around here have LED brake lights that flash once before coming on solid. It is very rapid, and may actually be "preflash" rather than a deliberate function.

I saw the emergency brake flash come on in a mercedes once, but only the once. She was standing on them pretty hard at the time - probably texting and got caught unaware!

I installed a set of trailer LED brake lights on my trailer hitch, because they come on hard and fast, noticeably faster than the filaments in the regular taillights. The LED replacement bulbs are all garbage, so adding the DOT trailer lights that activate on brake only gives an important early warning for people behind me.
 

alpg88

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Many years ago it was pretty easy for a forensic investigator to determine whether the stop lights were lit or unlit at the time of a serious collision: Lit filaments are soft so they stretch; dark filaments are brittle so they break. We don't have that any more with LEDs!

i never seen a forensic investigate a car accident, unless there was a fatality. even than, i was involved in fatal accident in 1997, no forensics had any interest in my car. cops came up with conclusion there was no crime commited, and lost interest.
 

-Virgil-

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All of the ambulances around here have LED brake lights that flash once before coming on solid.

That's fairly common, but not relevant to regular vehicles. Priority vehicles (police, fire, ambulance) do not meet the same lighting system regulations as other vehicles -- and that's for the best.

I saw the emergency brake flash come on in a mercedes once, but only the once. She was standing on them pretty hard at the time - probably texting and got caught unaware!

Probably!

I installed a set of trailer LED brake lights on my trailer hitch, because they come on hard and fast, noticeably faster than the filaments in the regular taillights.

Yes, which gives a nice safety benefit in theory...but despite looking (i.e., scientific/methodical research of real-world crash data) we still don't have proof that LED stop lights do a better job than incandescent ones do of preventing crashes. This is a great example of the world not working the way "common sense" says it "should". Still, I'm with you; I'd rather have fast-rise stop lamps than slow-rise ones.
 

-Virgil-

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i never seen

You mean you have never seen...

a forensic investigate a car accident unless there was a fatality

Happens many times every day. "Forensic investigation" just means "investigation using scientific methods". Even in non-fatal crashes, there are usually people with significant interest ($$$ stake) in knowing exactly what happened and who/what was at fault.

Be careful of falling into the "I've never seen it, so it doesn't exist" trap.
 

Echo63

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i never seen a forensic investigate a car accident, unless there was a fatality. even than, i was involved in fatal accident in 1997, no forensics had any interest in my car. cops came up with conclusion there was no crime commited, and lost interest.
our local police have a "major crash unit" that gets involved with every fatal accident, most accidents with severe injuries, and the occassional one that is just a bit odd.
i have seen plenty of cars towed away from accident scenes wrapped up in plastic (to prevent bits falling off and getting lost) for further testing/inspection
 

rthinchey

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I have seen the same thing on a jeep and a couple other newer cars.. I always thought it was that way from the factory. Why would this be illegal? Because it's too distracting??
 

hokiefyd

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Ever since we started driving, at least in the United States, we know that brake lamps burn steady and turn signals flash. Every car has operated the same way for many decades. These aftermarket electronic modules that flash the brake lamps are mixing-and-matching modes of lamp operation in an attempt to sell a product in the name of safety.

If you're directly behind said Camaro (or Jeep or whatever else it is), you'll be able to see both brake lamps and the CHMSL. When those brake lamps start flashing, what do you do next? A flashing brake lamp means he's put on his 4-way hazard flashers, right? Well, to confirm that, we'd need to move our eyes to find the CHMSL. With that also on, we would then know that the driver is stopping. The time it takes to move your eyes to that CHMSL and process the operation of the three lamps together is unnecessary. It removes your attention from the road and increases your reaction time. And that's really the best case scenario.

Worst case, you're in the lane next to the Camaro, perhaps near his rear bumper, and you see the brake lamps begin to flash in your peripheral vision. What's he going to do next? Is he slowing down? Is he signaling a lane change? You don't know; you can't see his other brake lamp and you can't see his CHMSL. Ambiguity has no business on the road.

In my opinion, steady-state brake lamps are even more critical in North America, where red turns signals are permitted. In some other parts of the world, you know a red lamp is a brake lamp. But in North America, a red lamp could be a brake lamp...it could be a turn signal…it could be a 4-way flasher. This is why they're required to be steady-burning…steady-burning means "stop".
 

alpg88

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actually in reality it is not that confusing, flashing happens fast, and only by stop lamps, and if you mistake it with anything, it would be police strobes, not turns. or anything else.
if anything i'd rather have that than compleatly snow covered tails, as i saw on half the cars today, their stops i definatly don't see.

as for what do you do when you see flashing lights in front of you?? well it is pretty simple YOU STOP.
 
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Alaric Darconville

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actually in reality it is not that confusing, flashing happens fast, and only by stop lamps, and if you mistake it with anything, it would be police strobes, not turns. or anything else.

*You* might not be confused, or if you are, it is so briefly you don't even realize that you are. It doesn't mean that for a majority of drivers it won't be confusing. Hokiefyd has it right in that "ambiguity has no business on the road."

if anything i'd rather have that than compleatly snow covered tails, as i saw on half the cars today, their stops i definatly don't see.

So if the flashing CHMSL is also covered in snow, you still don't see it. This is a driver fault, not the fault of some manufacturer putting a product out in the name of safety which is actually a detriment to safety.

When I see just ONE car equipped like that, and I'm close enough to see that thing "operate", I can feel my blood pressure rise. I'm just glad I haven't yet encountered a traffic jam with two or three or 12 cars with those things. I might have an anyeurism-- and that certainly wouldn't increase road safety!

as for what do you do when you see flashing lights in front of you?? well it is pretty simple YOU STOP.

Not if it's a turn signal. Not if it's a fire engine driving in the same direction in my lane.
 

Alaric Darconville

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i sense you just have to contradict anything i post, you got something personal against me? pretty clear you do.
No, I don't have to contradict anything unless it is factually incorrect or if it would lead to someone doing something foolish, such as installing the illegal and dangerous items such as CHMSL "flashers" or "pulsers". I have nothing against you.

In my first reply, I gave the reasons why those toys are terrible ideas. The second post was the moderator stating his agreement, and expounding on it with the reason.

It's nothing personal, because facts are about as impersonal as it gets.
 
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alpg88

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my thread was never about installing the illegal and dangerous items such as CHMSL "flashers" or "pulsers".
i simply seen one on the road and asked about.
what factually incorect data are you talking about?
 

Alaric Darconville

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my thread was never about installing the illegal and dangerous items such as CHMSL "flashers" or "pulsers".
i simply seen one on the road and asked about.

i sure would like to have my cars lights to do that. may prevent some rear end collisions.

You didn't directly say you were going to do it, but you did express a desire for such "functionality".

you will definatly notice the driver hit the brakes.
That is factually incorrect. You will definitely notice there is something *different* about the lights, but noticing a difference does not mean understanding the meaning of the signal, and by extension, driver action or intent.
 
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