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Rear end collision advoidance lights...


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As I'm sure you know, the tail lights on my '39 Buick and other 30's and 40's Buick are not very noticeable and the brake lights aren't exactly over powering. I'm always a little nervous about folks following me and not paying attention to those relatively small taillites low on the rear fenders.

I've thought about adding, as a temporary arrangement, tail/brake lights in the rear window of my car to guard against rear end collisions - much like modern cars have. I would do it in some temporary fashion so I could remove them when showing the car.

I'm really not sure where to acquire such an arrangement, especially a 6 volt system. Has anyone here done this kind of thing, and if so, I'd be interested in what they did. I'm thinking some kind of trailer light to be used for this purpose. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Jim

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i've seen magnetic tow lights placed on the filler panel between the trunk lid and bumper used ...i suggest wire the tail and stop wires on the same connection so that the added lites are as bright as can be when you hit the brakes. (6 volt bulbs too).... i seen once a amber fog light used as an additional brake lite. (now i remember where i saw that one... it's on my '23!):o

on my '52 i wired the back up lites to the brake lites and popped in some amber bulbs into the sockets.:rolleyes:

point is: the taillights are usually bright enough to not need assistance. it's the stop lites that need to pop out when needed and grab attention!!!:eek:

Edited by mrspeedyt
remembering....and remembering more... (see edit history)
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I am currently putting my '38 Special back together after being rear-ended this summer. Lots of damage, thankfully no one was hurt. If you want the full story, see my earlier posting.

At Hershey I looked at this guy's product: BrakeLighter (www.jandlenterprise.com). It's an LED strip that mounts by suction cups inside the rear window. (I think it could also mount externally) It will indicate turn signals (half strip) or brake light (full strip). It can always be removed for show. The guy made a valid point: you want your additional brake light to be up high, if possible.

I am not endorsing anyone's product, but you may want to consider this one or something like it.

I will be running with one when I get the car back on the road.

Jeff

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Jim:

I've studied rear end collisions for 8 years now. The fact is 48% of the people that hit you in the rear are not slowing down. You could hang a neon sign back there and they'd still hit you.

It took 13 years for the "3rd brake light" to be added by the automakers. Initially it did help reduce rear end collisions. Now, every one is accustomed to them and the rear end collision is actually on the rise with all the "distracted and texting drivers."

DRL's (Daytime Running Lights) were supposed to help with collision avoidance as well but as we've grown accustomed to them they no longer are effective. The only car company that still does this is GM. None of the foreign automakers have DRL's.

What we did find out is that DRL's actually killed 4 times more motorcycle drivers because the motorcycle was the only vehicle on the highway with it's lights on and everyone noticed.

Additional lighting does not work for rear end collision avoidence so save your money.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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Krystalkid,

Your statements,

"What we did find out is that DRL's actually killed 4 times more motorcycle drivers because the motorcycle was the only vehicle on the highway with it's lights on and everyone noticed.

Additional lighting does not work for rear end collision avoidence so save your money."

makes me suspect that your "studies" are less than scientific.

Daytime Running Lights haven't "killed" any motorcyclists. Additional lighting will help avoid some crashes. No single item will magically solve the problem but additional lighting, as well as defensive driving skills, can help reduce crash rates.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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West:

I'm saying that 48% of the people that hit you in the rear are not slowing down. They are distracted. They smash into the back of your vehicle because they are not paying attention.

80% of all rear end collisions (the most frequent vehicle accident) are caused by:

1. driver inattention,

2. folowing too closely,

3. external distraction (talking on cell phones, shaving, applying

makeup, fiddling with the radio or CD player, texting, etc.) and

4. poor judgment.

So you could hang a neon sign back there and that 48% of drivers would still hit you. The other 52% might brake or or turn slightly but it's still too late.

Jeff

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Okay. So 52% of the time it may help in avoiding a collision. With some of our antique cars having dimly-lit taillights about half the size of our fists, and mounted way lower than modern cars, I'm going to have to believe that extra lights back there will be a big help, especially at night.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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West:

The other 52% will still hit you. They're just reacting by applying the brakes or trying to turn to avoid the collision - but it's still too late.

If there was a study of drivers that actually reacted to the "lights" and didn't get in an accident then we'd have something. But we're always interviewing the people that caused the accident and not the ones that avoided it.

Studies have shown that the 3rd brake light has lost it's effectiveness as well. After a while people just ignore the extra lights - like DRL's. I'm sure you've seen this in your own driving habits. I certainly have. I used to really notice a vehicle with it's head lights on - now I it's so common you kind of forget about it.

If I had an antique car that was worth a lot of money, I'd trailer it to a show. 75% of all rear end collisons are less than 10 mph so if they hit the trailer it would be no big deal. If you don't have a trailer, rent one. It would offer you a lot of piece of mind over an above a plastic, magnetic stick on light.

In a highly populated area like NY, NJ, FL or CA I wouldn't risk it.

Jeff

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If someone hits me from behind at 10mph, it's not a life and death situation. Plus, since no one is interviewing the drivers that didn't have an accident because they saw extra lights, I'd say the study is moot as far as deciding that the extra lights don't help.

If I had to trailer my car, I'd sell it and find a new hobby.

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West:

Put it this way: Additional lighting will help with all the drivers that a paying attention. But if they're paying attention, you don't need the extra lights. Unfortunately, the ones that are paying attention don't rear end you.

Of the ones that do hit you in the rear 48% will more than likely be direct hits; 52% will be somewhere in the rear. If they apply the brakes, they will more than likely under-ride the target vehicle because applying the brakes will crush the suspension on a passenger car. Since roughly 65% of the vehicles on the highway today are passengers cars you need to be more concerned about under-ride and a potential fuel system fire.

On another note, according to the Insurance Research Council the states with the highest uninsured drivers are (as of 2009): 29% New Mexico, 28% Mississippi, 26% Alabama, 24% Oklahoma, 23% Florida. Ohio is 16% (as of 2007). If they hit you, you'll not only end up with a smashed up car but you'll end up paying for all the damages too.

Jeff

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West:

I forgot to mention that most rear end collisions are not life or death. Very few people die from them.

But when you're hit from the rear the occupants within your vehicle will accelerate to 2.5 times that of the "bullet" vehicle. So if you're hit at just 10 mph, the occupants within the "target" vehicle will accelerate to 25 mph.

It is this instant acceleration or change in "Delta V" that makes women 2 times more likely to get injured from whiplash in a rear end collision than a man - they're necks are not strong enough to take it. And it is the slow speed rear end collision that is most dangerous because the head is delayed and the whiplash is accentuated.

Jeff

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Cool. Glad I checked back in.

I am not familiar with the studies cited, nor their statistics. However, I am pretty well versed in the study of statistics, and I will say this - raw statistics can sometimes be used to support whatever position you like. As one respondent pointed out, we have no data at all on the accidents that were avoided. For accidents that didn't happen, I believe that visability is a HUGE factor. I won't even try to apply any statistics to that, I'm quite comfortable with leaving it as a personal opinion.

There is no argument to drivers becoming more and more distracted. If I have some means of attracting the attention of an otherwise distracted driver, so much the better.

As a footnote to the GM DRLs, does anyone remember the add showing a car driving across the desert on a bright day, and entering a rather deep shadow? The car pretty much disappears. The same thing is shown with a DRL car, and it remains nicely visable.

I have seen the same effect many times as a car passes under an underpass here in Ohio. Hats off to GM for this feature.

Have a nice day. Hope to see you on the road!

Jeff

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Jeff:

Like they say about statistics: There's lies, there's dammed lies and then there's statistics.

There are a number of studies out there on DRL's stating they don't work to reduce accidents. Here's some great reading on DRL's: DADRL - Studies

Again, if you're paying attention you'll see the lights - front or rear. If you're not paying attention you don't see a dammed thing.

Jeff

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Holy cow! No one will win this debate.

However, getting back to the original question.

For the past couple of years I have used bicycle rear LED lights on the back of my 23 and 28. I use three, one on each of the bumpers and one one attached to the bar for the license plate. The ones on the bumpers I set to solid red, the one on the license plate I set to blinking. The LEDs are bright enough to be seen during the day. They are all powered by AA batteries. When I get to a show I just take them off.

I have gone many miles with them on and have never had a problem with folks tailgating me. Also I have had several police officers following me (they like to see the car), and they do not seem to have a problem with them.

Hope this helps.

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Jeff:

Again, if you're paying attention you'll see the lights - front or rear. If you're not paying attention you don't see a dammed thing.

Jeff

Jeff Mohr

You just don't get it. There are no statistics out there regarding how many accidents have been averted from better lighting -- such as that used by unimogjohn -- where someone's attention was "grabbed" soon enough for them to stear clear.

And I don't care what the statistics say about DRL's, I'm a proponent EVERY time I have to make a left turn out of my driveway onto a busy street. This morning I pulled out in front an an a$$ during a light rain/snow, and he didn't have his lights on. I didn't see him. Three seconds later and I would have been toast.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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For any studies to be valid for us, they would need to be focused on the antique cars. Applying statistices from all vehicles does not address our problem of slow speeds on hills traveling on back country roads. I don't drive my Model A on the interstate. I want flashers on the back to warn attentive people that I am Not driving at their rate of speed. For me, I notice the farm vehicles with their flashers on and take the necessary precasutions. I use a LED flasher bar with suction cups in the rear window. I power it with a small sealed 12 volt trailer battery. The unit is portable and can be transferred to any vehicle. I still need to add turn signal functions to it.

Bob

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My experience of three million miles as a truck driver has shown me that a lot of people either don't pay attention or are half asleep when coming up on a slower (or parked) vehicle. Cell phone talking and texting and messing with the gps (as well as playing with the radio dial) and drinking, eating, reading, shaving, makeup, etc. doesn't help. When I drove my la salle cross country 15 years ago at night I had a small white strobe light that I held in my left hand and held up outside the window and let flash about 3 or 4 times as a vehicle would be approaching from the rear. That was right after the speed limits were raised to 75 and I was doing 50. When I drive a old car I try to be VERY aware of my surroundings and have escape plan to avoid an accident if at all possible. (such as moving onto the sholder if available or acellerating). As noted above, all the flashing lights sometimes just doesn't help. Another note: in most cases, if you must park on the side near the travel lane at night TURN OFF your tailights! (place a warning triangle behind the car). A half asleep motorist might drive right up your tailpipe! :eek:(unless you are watching that traffic and have a good flashlite or reflector to wave) I've seen it happen a few times...

I have thought of a bumper or trailer with energy asorbing abilities and attention grabbing reflectors and lights to place behind my old stuff... just never acted on it.

Edited by mrspeedyt (see edit history)
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MrspeedyT, You have me beat by only one million miles and I totally agree with you the is everything that other drivers are doing from your post,

Cell phone talking and texting and messing with the gps (as well as playing with the radio dial) and drinking, eating, reading, shaving, makeup, etc. doesn't help
., I have driven enough that with about 80% accuracy I can tell if it is a male/female behind the wheel and what they are doing by watching them drive down the road. As for the daytime running lights, side marker lights, etc one may not be able to prove their worth, but I like them especially during daybreak & dusk, foggy conditions and rain.
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When you're talking about pre-60 cars with small, dim, 6v tail lights, especially with glass lenses, these can be difficult to see for some people who are paying attention. A tip I read in a hobby magazine years ago is to paint the inside of the tail light buckets and the socket bracket with high gloss white enamel. It makes the glass lenses stand out at night with a bright rosy red glow. It has a similar effect as adding blue dots without the hassle or legal issues. It also improves the brightness and contrast of brake lights in daylight.

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Mr Mohr,

I agree with you about the concept of, Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics. The Wisconsin study that you cited is not relevent to the question in this initial discussion. Without trying to debate the issue further, you would have to know the percentages of different contributing factors in the crashes causing the elevated crash rate for that specifc roadway to determine if there was any chance of Headlight use reducing the crash rate. The primary type of crash that is normally expected to be reduced by DRL use is left turn, same roadway crashes, due to fewer left turn yield violations with increased visibility of oncoming vehicles through the use of DRL.

While Increased visibility will not solve every problem of inattentive drivers. Increased visibility is better than decreased visibility.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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While not a guarantee of no rear-ends, some additional rear lighting certainly couldn't hurt.

I'll admit that like everyone else I've become accustomed to third brake lights and I have found that due to this accustomization I sometimes do not react as quickly if the third brake light is missing or inop on a vehicle I'm following.

I'm planning on adding a CHMSL to my '84 Seville for this very reason. I have driven behind my car and the brake lights do not stand out enough compared to most every other car on the road.

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All manufacturers do put DRLs on their cars...at least for the Canadian market since Jan. 1, 1990. DRLs or simply turning your lights on was worst when there was a mix on the road in the mid to late 1980s. It made it harder to judge how far away vehicles were.

The early pre-war cars tend not to travel at the same speed on highways as other traffic. Also, in the cities, they don't generally accelerate as quickly as modern traffic. For that reason, those of us with these cars (and their often tiny and sometimes single) 6 volt lights. Those of us interested in additional lighting are concerned about protecting the investment we have in our older cars and, while we recognize we can't avoid all collisions, try to do what we can to reduce the likelihood of collisions. We are trying to reach the more attentive drivers who do notice lights.

I have been looking for a product similar to the LED strip noted here, although it isn't quite what I want. That being said, it does tell me that I should be able to get 6V strips to do what I want, which is to put tail / brake lights and signals into the openings between the horizontal pieces of my '29s bumper (and signals up front). I do want to make them relatively removable in the event I want the car judged, but I want more in the back than the single brake light.

For many of us, the question is not whether or not we get hit in our old cars, but is say $100 and a bit of our time worth the improved visibility we will get for our cars that we have (or will have) considerable monies invested in. For many, I suspect the answer is yes.

Enough said.

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A very effective, simple and easy solution is a third brake light. I have the same unit mounted by suction cups on the inside of the rear window of both my 6 volt system 1931 Buick (negative ground) and 1936 Plymouth (positive ground). I wired in a plug in both cases, so that they are easily removable if desired. The wiring couldn't be easier. These units use LEDs so that the battery drain is quite low, which is good news if you are using the old generator; but they are brightly visible. If interested, you can check them out at <www.logolites.com.>http://www.logolites.com.</www.logolites.com.>

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UNIMOGJOHN,

I went out and bought 3 of the bicycle led's. I have to tell you that they should not ever be missed. There is no excuse for bumping into a car with those light. I was always leary about driving at night, especially when I got on the highway doing 60 at night. I always worried about someone running into me because they did not see me in time. Back in the days when these cars were new, I do not know how people saw the lights when it snowed. The snow could conceivably pile up on the bumper and hide the lights.

Thanks.

The ones I bought take 2 AAA batteries and are good for about 50 hours or double that if they are on flash.

Thanks again,

Stevo

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I am currently putting my '38 Special back together after being rear-ended this summer. Lots of damage, thankfully no one was hurt. If you want the full story, see my earlier posting.

At Hershey I looked at this guy's product: BrakeLighter (www.jandlenterprise.com). It's an LED strip that mounts by suction cups inside the rear window. (I think it could also mount externally) It will indicate turn signals (half strip) or brake light (full strip). It can always be removed for show. The guy made a valid point: you want your additional brake light to be up high, if possible.

I am not endorsing anyone's product, but you may want to consider this one or something like it.

I will be running with one when I get the car back on the road.

Jeff

I went to the BrakeLighter web site, I even printed out the Installation and wiring guide. I think I am interested in this product, but am a little bit puzzeled on how I can use it for not only a third brake light, but also as turn signals for my '39. I understand that the product will act as a third brake light and even flash as turn signals, but there is an apparent problem with my '39. It has separate turn signals that are an integral part of the "Buick Eight" trunk emblem, separate from the tail and brake lights located on the fenders. . It appears that he BrakeLighter assumes that the brake lights and turn signals are the same filiment whithin the same bulb of the tail lights, which is how they are usual configured, if I'm not mistaken.

Sooo, how would one wire up this product to the configuration my '39 has where the turnsignals are located at a different location than the tail and stop lights? Any help is appreciated.

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