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Could changing turn signal colors decrease car accidents?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Serious Injuries |

Turn signals serve a viable purpose as they alert drivers about other road users’ intentions with their vehicles. Changing lanes without using turn signals might lead to a ticket because the driver’s negligence may increase the chances of an accident. Incredibly, the color of turn signals could factor into increasing or decreasing collision potential. Drivers in California might not realize that red turn signal lights are potentially inferior to amber or orange ones.

In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study to examine rear-end collisions and how turn signals factor into accidents. Red turn signals, while commonplace, don’t appear to be as beneficial as amber or orange ones. The NHTSA discovered that amber turn signals, when engaged, lowered the risk of a rear-end collision occurring by 22%. Orange, while not as effective as amber, did show a more than 5% decrease in incidents over red ones.

One study might not necessarily reveal entirely reliable feedback, so the NHTSA went back to conduct another study. The second study involved vehicles with similar tailgate housing and lens features. The turn signals, of course, were different colors. Amber and orange turn signals, once again, outperformed red ones.

The NHTSA is contemplating including amber lights as part of the criteria for a “Five Star Safety Rating.” Time will tell if the NHTSA makes a final determination in this regard.

Drivers could change their red turn signal lights to orange or amber ones at a service station. The cost is relatively reasonable as the job doesn’t involve complex work. Unfortunately, the number of drivers who know about the benefits of amber and orange lights might be minimal.

Proper use of turns signals might reduce the potential for property and personal injury accidents. So might changing the colors of turn signals from red to orange or amber.