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Is A New Traffic Signal Color On The Way? Maybe, And Not Soon


Since we were kids, we were taught to look out for the red, yellow and green traffic signals and learn what they mean. Everywhere you go, in any state in the nation these three colors are there, all meaning the same thing. It seems like these three colors will never change, and nothing will ever be added to them.

Or will they? Actually, researchers are now looking at a brand new color of light which may be white, but it doesn’t really matter what color the new light actually is. What is more important is what it is anticipated to do or mean.

Why No New Colors?

The reason why new traffic light colors haven’t been introduced is twofold.

First, there are an untold number of traffic signals in the nation; introducing a new color would mean a wholesale change of all of those lights, at an immeasurable cost to cities, counties and states. The other problem is the fear it may cause more accidents than it avoids; drovers would have to be educated to what new colors mean, and that isn’t something drivers can just get used to gradually.

Self Driving Cars

But the introduction of self-driving cars to our roadways-when they do come along-may necessitate the use of a new color of light.

That’s because at traffic intersections, traffic signals may interact or “speak with” self-driving cars, in order to orchestrate cars’ safe passage through intersections. Self driving cars won’t just stop and go the way they do today; they may speed up, slow down, or stop briefly when going through intersections.

Lights may even “take over” control of cars, stopping them, slowing them, or speeding them up, in order to facilitate smooth intersections.

That means drivers of self-driving cars (and yes, people still will play some role in the operation of self-driving cars) may need to know what the traffic light is “taking over the car” or talking to it. You wouldn’t want a human inside of a self-driving car overriding what the traffic signal is telling the car to do, as that could cause an accident.

And, those who still drive non-self-driving cars, may also need to know that the cars around them are being controlled by the traffic signal. A human driver may need to know, for example, just to follow the car in front of them, or slow down, or do whatever the car in front is doing.

Models Show The New Color Will Help

This isn’t just hypothetical; researchers using computer models which use artificial intelligence have found that the additional color light moved traffic quicker, and reduced accidents at intersections—at least in theory. We won’t know for sure until self-driving cars are actually on the roadways, and that alone is still a long way away.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today if you have been in an accident and need help.


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