The efficiency of various configurations of brake lights in actual traffic was tested in two daytime experiments. The first experiment investigated the reaction times of informed drivers to 22 configurations of brake signals drawn from a 3 x 3 array of rear lamps. The main finding of this experiment is that adding supplemental (including high-mounted) lamps to the conventional two-lamp configuration did not shorten the reaction times. Other findings indicate that the lateral position of the lamps, the following distance, as well as the sex and age of the driver had significant effects on reaction times, while the mounting height of the lamps did not. The second experiment evaluated brake responses of unsuspecting drivers to brake-signal presentations using a conventional brake-lamp system with and without supplemental high-mounted brake lamp(s). The signals were presented at speeds of 30-45 mph. The main finding of this experiment is that the signals given by the systems with one or two supplemental high-mounted brake lamps were more likely to produce a brake response by a following driver. On the other hand, the reaction times of the brake responses did not vary between the systems.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored in part by General Motors Corp., Warren, MI. Technical Center.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Highway Safety Research Institute

    Huron Parkway and Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109

    General Motors Technical Center

    Warren, MI  United States  48090
  • Authors:
    • Sivak, M
    • Post, D V
    • Olson, P L
  • Publication Date: 1979-11

Media Info

  • Pagination: 41 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00318716
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UM-HSRI-79-87 Final Rpt.
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 27 1981 12:00AM