MOTOR CLINIC

Want to pimp your ride? Why you should not change your car’s lights

In Summary

• Changing the indicator with  any other bulb may cause miscommunication with other road users and may result in accidents.

• When it comes to rear parking lights, they are usually red; the braking lights are also red, but not the same intensity as the rear parking lights.

A vehicle's lights.
A vehicle's lights.
Image: COURTESY

When you shop for a car or envision your dream car, what do you imagine?

Do you think of ‘pimping’ your ride by adding a customized number plate, or maybe changing the colour of your car or putting matte paint to stand out?

While it’s all well and good to personalize your car, there may be some alterations you make oblivious to the fact that you may compromise on your own safety and that of your fellow motorists.

Today, we discuss the don’ts when it comes to ‘pimping’ your ride that may lead to accidents and other direct or indirect problems on the road.

All automotive   manufacturers    are monitored by governing bodies to ensure vehicles rolled out meet safety standards.

However, once the vehicles  leave the factory, it becomes  the work  of the  law enforcers to ensure road rules are adhered to.

When it comes to a vehicle’s lights, the Society of Automotive Engineers International has set out guidelines on the type and colour that should be used as a standard to ensure there is no confusion and to minimize chances of accidents on the road.

For instance, the vehicle signal/indicator    is always  orange – which is achieved  by either having an orange bulb on a clear lens or vice versa depending  with region.

Changing the indicator with  any other bulb may cause miscommunication with other road users and may result in accidents.

When it comes to rear parking lights, they are usually red; the braking lights are also red, but not the same intensity as the rear parking lights.

The rear fog lights have the same sharp intensity as brake lights.

To differentiate between fog lights and brake lights, manufacturers  either put one fog light  on

the driver’s side or if they are two, they are far  away from the brake lights  (either on the bumper  or on the tailgate).

When you drive behind someone  for extended periods at night, you may not be able to pick a change  or increase  in light when someone  brakes if you blink.

For  this  reason the brake lights are made to be much more brighter  than the rear parking  lights  so that you can tell a  sudden  increase  in light. A mandatory  third  brake light at the top-most   centre was also introduced  on all vehicles  in the year 2000. In some models, the third  brake light only works  when the park lights  are switched  on while in others the third  brake light is on all the time.

Apart  from  vehicle  body markers (small dull lights)  that  are usually  put on to edges of trucks  and buses, having any other

striking  light at the back of the car  alters the rate at which the brain is supposed  to react before the driver can act in case of an emergency. It becomes  even worse  if you have blinking  lights  at the back of your car whether  red or any other colour.

This  has a big effect  on the human  brain (called the bucha effect)  that  may cause nausea and result in accidents (direct  effect)  or long time illness (indirect   effect)

At some  point  in our driving we have gone past the city camera  flashes  at night or ambulances/fire    engines  have gone past us in traffic  at night and we can all recall the kind of effect  we are all left with whenever  we come  under these three conditions.   Always ensure that your brake lights  are working  in the desired conditions.

Lastly, before  you change the colour  of your indicators, parking   breaks reverse bulbs or before you put those blinking lights think of the repercussions. Yes you might think it’s fashionable,  but it might affect someone negatively.

Until next Thursday, keep safe.

 

The writer is the owner of Boosted Auto automotive repair shop

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