The color of car turn signals affects safety

In 2008, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study concluded that red turn signals are more dangerous than amber ones. A car with red turn signals is 22% more likely to be rear-ended than a vehicle with amber turn signals, according to the study. In California and throughout the United States, rear-end collisions are the most common kind of car accident.

The NHTSA performed a second study in 2009 that limited accident data to only cars with turn signals that had been changed from red to amber. This second study found that switching the color of turn signals from red to amber decreases rear-end collisions by 5.3%. The NHTSA is considering the addition of amber turn signals to the Five Star Safety Rating criteria. This safety rating program encourages car manufacturers to enhance their vehicles with proven safety features, like radar sensors for emergency braking systems.

The reason that automobile manufacturers use red turn signals as opposed to amber ones is simple — the cost. Switching from red to amber turn signals can add somewhere between a few cents and $10 to the cost of a car. Consumers who understand the importance of a 5.3% reduction in the chance of being rear-ended can ask for amber turn signals as an upgrade on their next new car purchase.

Rear-end collisions can be a simple fender-bender, but often, they are much more serious, leaving drivers and passengers with serious injuries. Distracted driving is the most common cause of rear-end collisions. When a driver hits another car from behind, that person is usually found to be at fault for the accident. Someone who has been injured in a rear-end collision can speak with an experienced attorney with a background in personal injury about his or her accident to find out whether compensation might be warranted.