How to create traffic signals and headlights that accommodate all people?

I don’t know. The visual issues got disabling in 2014/2015. The auditory in 2012/2013. I tried gabapentin, but it blurs my vision. I have noticed that some cars have moderately bright headlights and others have blinding ones.


That’s certainly true. Car headlights got significantly brighter once most automakers switched from 6 volt to 12 volt electrical systems back in the late 50s and early 60s, and then again once automakers started switching from sealed-beam filament bulbs to halogen bulbs in the 80s. But in recent years some (initially higher-end) cars started using xenon bulbs, which are bright as all hell. They’re typically more sharply focused on the ground, and a bit less likely to shine directly in one’s eyes while driving on flat pavement, but when they do shine directly in one’s eyes (for instance when an oncoming car goes over a speed bump, raising the headlight’s angle), holy shit can it hurt, and that’s even for people who have a more typical sensitivity to bright light.

Of course, the xenon bulbs were adopted ostensibly to provide added safety through enhanced visibility for the driver of the xenon-equipped car, but pretty much immediately everyone else hated those assholes in their obnoxiously bright Audis and BMWs.


Turn signals are not flashes or strobes, at least not in the way you’re thinking of them.

I have photosensitive epilepsy. There are certain things that bother me that practically nobody else is bothered by. Turn signals are not in this category. The strobe is too slow, and they are hidden behind thick orange plastic, which not only makes them less intense but also makes them less of pure bright light.

Apples and bowling balls.

Besides, I have proof that turn signals are not strobe weapons. In Boston, nobody uses their indicators. If they were weapons, everyfuckingbody would! :wink:


Turn signals are below my worst frequency, police cars closer to my worst frequency. But that whole range is dangerous to me. The eeg was above my worst frequency, and negative for photosensitive epilepsy. That suggests flicker vertigo/the Bucha effect.

Anyway, since I can’t handle gabapentin, the neurologist says my best option is to avoid these triggers-- such as turn signals.

These studies suggest that 700 nm–near the red end of the spectrum-- is worst-- not that blue is necessarily better:

P.S. Also, I haven’t watched the video, but when people brag about how their devices can hurt people, it’s no longer ambiguous whether they count as weapons:


As @Enitka has pointed out, some German automakers are opting for very strobe-y turn signals.
Additionally, there are also aftermarket packages that closely simulate the strobe patterns of police and emergency vehicles.

Off topic: I’ve seen these packages in use on California roadways, generally for road-ragey purposes. The cars aren’t generally government issue, but a momentarily panicked driver doesn’t know the difference.
One guy in a black ATV tried this trick on me in the middle of a San Diego traffic jam to get me to pull to the side, but I noticed his car wasn’t government issue, so I just stayed the course while he fumed.
Another time, I saw a guy faking out all the vehicles ahead of him in the middle of the night on Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles County so he could just slide right on through.


Are you saying someone here has done that?


No I’m not saying that. I’m pointing out that people do that, and linking to an example.

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But he didn’t say that in the video. Nor imply it. And you said you hadn’t seen the video, anyway. The thing he did say, at the end, was that the lights he was reviewing seemed to create the Bucha effect, which he said causes drivers to slow down and be more careful.

Please consider the possibility that people aren’t actively trying to harm you.


The Bucha effect is one way flashing lights disorient people and sometimes cause crashes. It was discovered by helicopter crash investigators. It’s possible that they don’t know what they’re talking about, but it’s odd if a term for a dangerous hazard has been picked up in the belief that it’s a safety feature. But if someone brags that their lights cause the Bucha effect s the title implies, ten it’s reasonable to assume that they’re bragging that their lights cause the Bucha effect.


@ChickieD, @tinoesroho and/or anyone else who’s capable:

I’d like to request that this thread be split into another post which is specifically dedicated to dealing with issues with automobiles, headlights, electronic traffic signals, strobe lighting and the potential harm that those things could pose to individuals who may be sensitive to them.



I’ll split this in the morning


Shouldn’t autonomous vehicles, in theory, solve a lot of these issues?

“Flashing lights to draw attention” is designed specifically for human vision, which is naturally attracted to things changing and very good at picking up patterns. However, computers don’t need that kind of signal; they can see things in the infrared and ultraviolet, get radio transmissions to tell them exactly what the car ahead is about to do, and determine hazards based on radar and lidar.

Once human-driven vehicles are off the road, it may be much easier to eliminate this kind of flashing signal.


Do you have any ideas as to what could replace flashing lights? A lower frequency or a different color?

I have noticed over the years that emergency vehicles’ flashy lights are much brighter and higher frequency than they used to be (along with much louder sirens, which annoy me more – they just hurt my ears, especially if I’m walking on the sidewalk and one goes by). The flashers don’t trigger anything in me; they’re just too bright and annoying.

It would be nice if wirelessly connected vehicles could communicate, so that a speaker in the dashboard could say “the blue car in front of you wants to turn left” or “there’s an emergency vehicle coming up behind you; please move to the right and slow down.”


I don’t really know. From where I am, anything not-flashing and not-blindingly-bright would be easier. I am sensitive down to about 0.2 Hz. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are sensitive at 0.1 Hz. I think current law is that they have to be less than 3 Hz, but it isn’t enforced, and combinations on police cars and school buses may be more than 15 Hz. A color-coded system would need to reckon with color blindness.

Putting crosswalks away from intersections might be better. At intersections, there are more hazards, from all directions, and there are many flashing lights, up close, from all directions, and blindly stumbling’s more likely to lead into the street.


It doesn’t help that all the roads around here are 4 to 8 lanes, that most crosswalks don’t run through islands, that drivers take right-hand turns when it’s supposed to be time to cross, and that one set of lights schedules left-hand turns when it’s supposed to be time to cross, or that another crosswalk is at a blind corner.

Ideally, if you can’t see due to blindness or due to blinding lights, you ought to be able to feel if you’re stumbling into the street or out of the crosswalk towards the traffic.

In general traffic signals should be whole objects instead of pointilistic effects, which the brain can put out-of-place even when it isn’t raining.


A couple more suggestions:

Islands in the middle of wide streets, with crosswalk buttons in the islands in case people get stranded in the middle.

No vertical gratings at headlight level, with no rapid strobe effect when people drive on the other side of the grating.