WHY AREN’T WE ALL USING ADAPTIVE BRAKE LIGHTS?
In 2002, BMW introduced a controversial redesign of its 7 Series that included one subtle but potentially important innovation: adaptive brake lights. These lights, sometimes called emergency stop signals (ESS), illuminate an extra element during hard braking to, hopefully, add urgency to the warning to cars behind you. BMW now includes these lights on its entire product line, and other manufacturers have experimented with various ESS systems (including ones that blink or get brighter). Doesn’t this seem like a technology that, if standardised and made universal, could reduce rear-end collisions as well as the overbraking that leads to accordion traffi c? The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been studying ESS since 2002 but currently has no offi cial plan for the technology – despite research that suggests some ESS methods could be effective. We think it’s time to fi gure out what works and run with it.