In most countries outside North America, vehicles have separate turn signals which are amber rather than red. In the USA (and probably Canada) this is not part of the standards and a flashing brake light is used as the turn signal in the majority of vehicles.

Technology Connections (a youtube channel) thinks this is unsafe as the ambiguity and lack of redundancy in the American standards exposes other drivers to higher risks:

There are studies linked below that demonstrate a tangible safety benefit of amber turn signals. You might want to check them out. Though it might be small, the benefit is demonstrably there.

While I'm convinced (and not just because I'm a European) the video doesn't quote any numbers (though he suggests that safety data from US insurance claims should be able to measure the difference between the alternatives systems as some US cars follow the European standard).

The logic of the argument is convincing, but is the statistical evidence that European brake light standards are safer than American ones convincing?

  • 2
    Why not check out the linked studies?
    – user43646
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 14:07
  • 2
    @Orangesandlemons because that’s what answers are for.
    – matt_black
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 14:09
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    But you've literally mentioned that there are linked studies in the thing you are questioning. Presumably either the studies are no good, and you should mention why you believe that the case, or they are good, and constitute the answer, a n which case it seems a little perverse not to mention the actual studies
    – user43646
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 14:16
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    Why do you expect others to do research that you don't want to do?
    – Joe W
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 16:38
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    @JoeW I don't. I may even answer the question myself. This site it totally happy with people posting questions they know the answer to. The point is not to get others to do work but to record definitive answers to interesting questions (and to reward to good answers). Feel free to get the reputation points of answering before I do.
    – matt_black
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


An NHTSA study found between a 3 and 28% decrease in liklihood of collision with amber turn signals, although it acknowledges that some of this may have been related to simply having a separate indicator for braking and turning and not explicitly the colour.

Another study showed a significant decrease in reaction time to a brake signal when the vehicle is fitted with amber turn signals.

  • 2
    By the way this is just copy paste from the YouTube video description k thx for the up votes Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 23:15
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    I'd love to see more detail from the actual studies quoted in the answer. And some discussion of the significance.
    – matt_black
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 11:05
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    @matt_black Considering how much effort I put into this answer, I'd prepare for disappointment. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 17:57

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