Driving on the freeway the other day, at a safe distance for 65mph, I looked at the traffic on the other side for a moment and was startled when I looked back and the driver in front of me had jammed on the brakes and stopped MUCH faster than I anticipated. Again, I was far enough behind that I could still safely stop, but I was hoping that the car behind ME was paying attention and not driving too closely.
That’s when I thought – why don’t brake lights get brighter, the further down the driver pushes on the brakes? I’m sure this isn’t a new idea, but I don’t know why it hasn’t been implemented. With todays new (albeit higher-end) cars using LEDs for the brake lights, changing the brightness of the tail lights based on the pressure the driver puts on the brake pedal should be easy.
Good drivers are always looking and planning ahead – I tend to look two or three or more cars ahead if I can, to plan my next action – whether it’s hitting the brakes, gas or changing lanes. If I knew that the car (or three) in front of me were just lightly covering their brakes, I could plan accordingly. Or, if I was coming up to a car faster than expected and I could see that they have their foot all the way down on the brakes, I would know that they’re stopped, and not just slowing down.
Perhaps in 10 years this will be a standard safety feature just like windshield wipers, seat belts and airbags.