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  #1  
Old 08-14-2003, 05:37 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Red vs. amber rear turn indicators

I've always wondered why some cars have red lights and others have amber lights for turn signals on the back of the car. Seems most American cars go with red, and Euro and Japanese go with amber... but not always.

Personally, I HATE red rear turn indicators. I think they too closely look like brake lights. Too often, some cluebie will drive around with a burnt out brake light for weeks or months. If they tap the brakes, are they turning or braking. This is compounded by the "cheap" carmakers that use the same light housing/bulb to do the running lights, brake lights AND the turn signals.

Here in the US, where government seems to relish the idea of over regulating things on cars... how has this ever come to be!? I think a separate amber housing and bulb on the rear is much clearer and safer.

I'm just glad our BMW's have the amber rear turns. Would I not buy a car because of this? Don't know... but it would go onto the list of "cons".

(Speaking of people with burnt out bulbs... I saw a car recently that had 2 bulbs on each corner for brakes, plus a 3-bulb center mount brake light. All but one bulb in his left tail light were not working. Talk about dangerous!)

Discuss...
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2003, 06:14 AM
GregE_325 GregE_325 is offline
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I agree wholeheartedly. Amber turn signals are much easer to see, since they contrast with the rest of the light housing. I had this very thought the other day while sitting behind a brand new Chevrolet truck. The entire rear light assembly is red, and the turn indicator is very small, relative to the size of the light housing. It makes it difficult to see unless you are directly behind the vehicle, and even then it washes out somewhat in direct sunlight.
BMW is taking the correct approach with installing LED tail lights on the 3 series coupes. The LED's are much brighter and easier to see.
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2003, 06:17 AM
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Tanning machine Tanning machine is offline
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I agree as well. Although I think it's a cheap US car thing now. Years ago, all cars were that way, no? I assume that europe had regulations that required a different color turn signal, so the exports had it as well. A lot of us cars have adapted, but it's still cheaper not to have two separate sets of lights. DOT needs to modify the regs to require amber. and to ban more clearly all uncolored bulbs. while they're at it, maybe they could ban the alteeza's too.
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  #4  
Old 08-14-2003, 06:24 AM
ARCHER ARCHER is offline
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I saw a tricked pickup the other night with clear lenses and bright neon green turn signal bulbs.

How do people doing things like this not get pulled over?
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  #5  
Old 08-14-2003, 06:40 AM
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At the risk of being a fuddyduddy..I believe it should be illegal to change the lenses on turn signals...there is a reason for the color and it has to do with visibility and safety.

I also think clear lenses are ugly...I expecially do not like the new trend in current Japanese cars where much of the lens surround both in front and back are clear...to me it looks like there are pieces missing..

Just my opinion YMMV.....
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  #6  
Old 08-14-2003, 07:09 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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I'm not necessarily talking about the lenses. I'm talking about the light emitted. My Passat had red lenses. The entire tail light looked like a single red lens (with a small white square for the reverse). However, the blinkers would actually emit an amber light thru a red lens! It was pretty cool, actually.

I might dislike some of the "Altezza-styled" tail lights, but I'm not one to talk about banning clear lenses. I've upgraded to the Euro clear turnsignals on the rear. But... I also put in amber bulbs, so my lights blink a distinct amber color.

DOT regs specify that a car has a reflective surface on the rear in case of a lighting failure. The red sections of my tails still meet that requirement. My turns blink amber, and are a separate bulb/housing from the brake and running lights. And I have clear lenses on the turn portion of the lens which IMO looks cleaner. So... I "win" in all areas.
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2003, 07:11 AM
PABS PABS is offline
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Ok. I see your point and the difference...I don't care for clear lenses..but to each his own
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2003, 09:15 AM
Aaron325iT Aaron325iT is offline
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i personally hate red turn signals too...i also think a lot of carmakers consider amber vs red to be some arbitrary styling exercise in the US & Canadian market that they can change on a whim. As an interesting note, BMW has red turn signals on the US/Canadian E39 5-series touring (but not the 3 touring, thank god!) and Z8. Why??? i think it looks awful! The worst is American cars that use the same lamp for braking, turn signals AND rear night light...talk about laziness!

In Europe (the EU anyway) the turn signals have to be amber on all sides by law...even the Corvette sold in the EU has retrofitted amber turn signals, and retrofitted side repeaters. The amber side repeaters are another thing that should be compulsory here (and is compulsory in the EU) but are not.
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  #9  
Old 08-14-2003, 04:52 PM
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Red turn signals don't bother me... although I see your point on how they could get confused with a brake light.

What I can't stand is those nimrods who put those bluish-white super high intensity bulbs in their CLEAR tail light fixtures. Do they not realize it's like shining highbeams into the person's eyes behind you?!
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  #10  
Old 08-14-2003, 05:48 PM
Maverick Maverick is offline
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I don't understand how all red indicators can be legal and clear lenses that emit amber light are not? Surely the amber reflectors on the front are less important that distinguishing whether a vehicle is turning or just braking. I hate it. Find the red indicators quite dangerous sometimes. Especially on big SUVs that think they own the road.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2003, 01:23 PM
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LmtdSlip LmtdSlip is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doeboy
Red turn signals don't bother me... although I see your point on how they could get confused with a brake light.

What I can't stand is those nimrods who put those bluish-white super high intensity bulbs in their CLEAR tail light fixtures. Do they not realize it's like shining highbeams into the person's eyes behind you?!

Maybe they do...and thats why they do it.
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2003, 03:59 PM
Andre Yew Andre Yew is offline
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I too dislike red turn signals. Another practical reason to use amber turn signals is that you know someone's turn signals are on if you see amber. For red turn signals, you have to keep looking until you see it blink, and then some (for those people who like to tap their brakes a lot), which is a dangerous distraction while driving.

--Andre
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  #13  
Old 08-17-2003, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LmtdSlip
Maybe they do...and thats why they do it.
If they know this and do it anyway... I have this to say to them:

:asshole:
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  #14  
Old 08-18-2003, 01:30 PM
Maverick Maverick is offline
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Originally Posted by ___lk___
clear lenses emitting amber light are perfectly legal.

what's ILLEGAL is lack of amber (front) and red (rear) REFLECTORS visible from the side of the vehicle.... often, like in e46 sedans, the 2 are combined into one unit, so clears on sedans are illegal, unless u put the cheesy reflectors on the sides of your bumpers.

the coupes already have the cheesy reflectors built-in on their bumpers so OEM clears can be installed (eg. e46 M3)... doesn't stop knuckle-dragging coupe owners from painting over them, in what has to be one of the dumbest mods ever.
No, I understood this info already. I just think it is bizarre that DOT would think that an amber reflector on the front is more important that distinguishing the difference between a braking and turning vehicle. Why is one illegal and the other not? They are two different issues, I'm just comparing the inconsistency in the DOT's stupid rules.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2008, 10:01 PM
X5drive X5drive is offline
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The worst possible turn signal design is where it's incorporated in one bulb. Signal, running, and brake lights all from one bulb. It is just unsafe, stupid, and of poor design. I really do not understand why Audi thinks this concept is so much better, and from what I can see, is slowly discontinuing its production of rear fog lamps for NA spec. models. They are following in the steps of American car producers..
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2008, 07:00 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OBS3SSION View Post
Personally, I HATE red rear turn indicators. I think they too closely look like brake lights.
I'm with ya. I consider safety when I buy a car. In my opinion, amber turn signals are safer. It's one of the things I consider.

Quote:
I'm just glad our BMW's have the amber rear turns. Would I not buy a car because of this? Don't know... but it would go onto the list of "cons".
Not true. The 3 series sedans and 5 series have red. However, the red turn signals on the 5 are SO BRIGHT you can't miss them.
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  #17  
Old 10-11-2008, 07:05 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
No, I understood this info already. I just think it is bizarre that DOT would think that an amber reflector on the front is more important that distinguishing the difference between a braking and turning vehicle. Why is one illegal and the other not? They are two different issues, I'm just comparing the inconsistency in the DOT's stupid rules.
this has to be the result of GM spending a million on lobbying to save two million.
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  #18  
Old 10-11-2008, 08:47 AM
Melquin Melquin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5drive View Post
The worst possible turn signal design is where it's incorporated in one bulb. Signal, running, and brake lights all from one bulb. It is just unsafe, stupid, and of poor design. I really do not understand why Audi thinks this concept is so much better, and from what I can see, is slowly discontinuing its production of rear fog lamps for NA spec. models. They are following in the steps of American car producers..
From what I understand there is a US DOT spec which mandates a distance separation between the rear fog lights and brake lights on the vehicle, that has necessitated the deactivation of the fog lights on some of the NA vehicles. At least that is what I had been told as to why all the lamp hardware was in place for them on 2006 A3 but no switch or programming, but the A4s had them active.
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  #19  
Old 10-12-2008, 07:06 PM
gmlav8r gmlav8r is offline
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Amber = Safer
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  #20  
Old 10-12-2008, 07:16 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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I swear Cadillac and Ford are the biggest offenders of the brake + turn indicator "multi-tasking". Really, we ought to just have amber turn signals because its harder to confuse.

Actually better yet, let's just have ONE set of international light standards.
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