Sarcastic Secret: Signal Lights

July 23, 2010 at 5:00 am 9 comments

By Chad Upton

Tickers, blinkers, indicators and flashers. They have many names, but only one purpose: to let people know your car is about to change course.

In most vehicles, a lever on the steering column moves up or down to activate flashing lights on either side of the car.

I suspect a lot of people don’t even know their car has such lights, but they’ve been standard on cars since cars.

Maybe it’s a confusing concept, so I’ll try to explain it in a straight forward manner: if you’re about to turn your steering wheel, put these lights on first.

I find that some people use signal lights like the horn. They know they’re there, but they only use them when they need you to move.

Most vehicles also have a way to put all four blinkers on at the same time. The vehicle manual may refer to these as “four way flashers” or “hazard lights” but a lot of people know these as “park anywhere lights.” Their understanding of this feature is, when you want to double park, park in a fire lane or any other no parking zone, these flashing lights give you temporary immunity from parking regulations.

In all seriousness, signal lights first appeared on cars in 1907, but weren’t patented until 1938. Some cars from the 1920s to 1950s used solid (non-blinking) retractable lights on the sides of the car, called a trafficators.

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Source: Wikipeda (Signal Lights)

Photo: Wikimedia (gnu free)

Entry filed under: Automotive, Sarcastic. Tags: , , , , , , .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura Johnson  |  July 23, 2010 at 8:13 am

    SAY! This has been a secret! Thank God you have revealed it; maybe now people will be able to employ these newfangled devices properly and in a way that will benefit all of traffic.

    I also love the part about the “park anywhere lights” … my campus was the worst for this. 20,000 college kids parking in streets all willy-nilly, hoping to offset it via hazard lights. If I was still around campus, I’d print a thousand of these posts and start stuffing them under windshield wipers.

    But seriously. It seems like a vast majority of people on the road were somehow exempt from taking their driving test. Love this entry! :)

    Reply
  • 2. Rich  |  July 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Although all lights on automobiles serve purposes. Many times a mechanical problem may disable the use of lights. I believe this posting would have been a perfect opportunity to explain the procedure of what to do in the event of the light(s) being disabled.
    HAND SIGNALS.
    Hand signals are a last resort in an emergency. In all states the hand signals are uniform and should be known by all drivers.
    LEFT TURN: DRIVER HAS ARM STRAIGHT OUT THE WINDOW POINTING TO THE LEFT.
    RIGHT TURN: DRIVER HAS ARM OUT THE WINDOW IN THE UP VERTICLE DIRECTION ACTUALLY POINTING WITH THUMB OVER THE CAR TO THE RIGHT.
    STOPPING OR SLOWING: DRIVER HAS ARM OUT THE WINDOW IN THE DOWN DIRECTION WITH HAND OPEN.

    These hand signals have been in use for many years, long before the use of lights. The hand signals are shown and explained in the “RULES OF THE ROAD” state book but few people are aware of them.

    After the automobile is safely as possible out of moving traffic flares or reflectors should be displayed a reasonable distance behind (and in front of) the disabled vehicle.

    Reply
  • 3. John  |  July 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

    If your indicator is blicking at twice the normal rate, it is an indication that one of your bulbs is out. On most vehicles…

    Reply
  • 4. Dot  |  July 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I wonder is there any way to signal tailgaters to get off your rear. I sometimes turn on my flashers hoping the jerk will think I have an emergency and back off. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  • 5. Charles Lucas  |  August 2, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I don’t know of a way to tell tailgaters to back off (other than the popular one-finger method), however, I was recently told that on the autobahn, when you are approaching someone from behind in the left lane, instead of getting up on their tail you signal that you want to pass by turning on your left turn signal.

    Obviously you’re not about to turn left, and this allows you to request that the person in front move over to let you by, without putting yourself in a dangerous (and actually illegal) position by getting too close to them. It also doesn’t provoke the defensive reaction that often results in flip-offs or road rage.

    But how to get this useful concept into practice? If I just do it by myself nobody knows what I’m up to. I recall a few years ago when there was a comprehensive effort to get everyone to move to the right when emergency vehicles are behind you, That caught like wildfire, and now everyone does it without question or anger. It seems like the sort of practice that everyone would use, that could make driving that much safer, I just have to spread the meme.

    Reply
  • 6. Dot  |  August 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Charles. Tailgating happens to me mostly when I’m observing the speed limit and it’s usually on a two lane road. Guess they want me to go faster than the speed limit, but already having one speeding ticket is enough for me. Good hint to use the left turn signal when someone is hogging the left lane – will try that on I-90 where I always like to use the passing lane because of its smoother pavement.

    Reply
  • [...] Sarcastic Secret: Signal¬†Lights This entry was posted in General Crankiness. Bookmark the permalink. ← Media Pirates = An American Takeover [...]

    Reply
  • 8. Still a secret here  |  October 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Apparently this is still a secret for many living in Durango, CO

    Reply
  • 9. E  |  May 20, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I cant seem to find what your talking about in my car?

    Reply

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