Today, me and my family made a short ten minute motorway sprint on the M1 between one junction to the next. Doesn't sound that exciting, but what I saw during those five miles was amazing.
|Yes, something amazing on the M1 happened. I have|
no life, in case you didn't notice.
If you have ever driven on any road ever, then you'll know that you are occasionally sharing that road with some idiots. Idiots who often have to be reminded the dictionary definition of a 'mirror', to be precise. And lo and behold, that was exactly what I came across today.
The culprit was a standard 2003 1.6L Honda Civic, finished in a miserable grey colour. He or she was stuck behind a lorry, and clearly wanted to overtake. Well I have breaking news for the driver of this car: other people use the motorway too, and so you can't just pull out when you feel like it. Despite indicating, this car nearly caused a fatal crash.
They were one of these people who take about ten years to switch lanes. Slowly over they went - completely oblivious to other motorists - heading straight for a black Mercedes E200 CDI Coupé. The Merc driver was quick to think, slamming on his brakes as soon as he realised that Civic wasn't going to stop.
Now something caught my eye while he was braking. The driver obviously had to apply a lot of pressure to the brake pads to slow down as soon as possible, so the brake lights came on naturally. But then, after the driver pushed even harder into the carpet, the brake lights flickered very distinctively in an on, off, on, off pattern, about two pulses of light per second.
At first I thought the driver was being strange and going on and off his brakes quickly, but after shortly realising that would've been impossible, I realised it must've been a safety feature I have never seen before. And it makes complete and utter sense.
Think about it. When a car applies its brakes, the brake lights shine to warn other motorists. But the lights do not give an indication of how suddenly the car is decelerating. The same lights could mean a light push of the pedal to maintain speed or a full-on emergency stop. That E-Class with the flickering lights to warn that it's doing an emergency stop is pure genius, in my opinion.
The only issue with this neat little feature is that it's not universal. The problem this gives is that other drivers might not know what it means if the Mercedes in front of them starts warning them. I experienced this issue first hand; as I just said, I first thought it was the driver being weird.
So, let Professor Jack propose something new, and universal. How about all cars have 'variable' brake lights? If the driver gives the brakes a tiny squeeze to maintain their speed, the lights will shine, but ever so discretely. As the driver puts more and more pressure on the brakes, the lights will get brighter and brighter. This is an incredibly simple concept that will give surrounding drivers a much better idea of what the driver is doing, potentially reducing the risk of an accident.
Wow, I'm actually quite chuffed at myself for that one. I'm going to leave now, so I can blow my own trumpet outside my bedroom window.
More about the flickering brakes I saw: http://techcenter.mercedes-benz.com/en/adaptive_brakelight/detail.html
I Have Single-Handedly Saved A Gajillion Lives Reviewed by Jack Cooper on 13:12 Rating: