Effects of taillight shape on conspicuity of vehicles at night

Taillight shape in a vehicle provides an essential lighting signal that enables the vehicle to be seen from the rear at night, thereby preventing rear-end crashes. This study aims to investigate the effects of taillight shape on vehicle conspicuity, and proposes ergonomic taillight shape solutions to vehicle designers and manufacturers. Two complementary experiments were conducted to examine three types of taillight shapes at three design levels. The first experiment was designed to investigate the detection speed of a driver and the fixation duration and fixation counts on leading vehicles with different taillight shapes, based on an eye-tracking methodology. The second experiment was designed to investigate the dynamic visual searching performance of a trailing driver for leading vehicles with different taillight shapes, based on a visual search task. The experimental results indicated that a long line-shaped taillight (striplight) was the optimal ergonomic solution for enhancing vehicle conspicuity. Vehicles with an enclosed contour-shaped taillight were more salient than those with an open contour-shaped taillight. Moreover, the experience and gender of the driver and the vehicle–observer distance were found to be closely related to vehicle conspicuity, and therefore, must be considered by vehicle designers when applying a specific taillight shape design. This study provides insights into the taillight shape design that not only aid vehicle designers or manufacturers in enhancing vehicle safety but also enable potential vehicle buyers to choose a safe lighting system.


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  • Accession Number: 01765476
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 21 2021 3:28PM