Ever since the emergence of the automobile, cars have become an integral part of our lives and daily routines. Our cars help us with faster means of transportation, easier movements, and much more. But with these pleasures come risks of several road and traffic accidents such as head-on collisions, side-impact, and rear-end accidents. So, in a bid to curb these accidents, especially traffic accidents like rear-end collisions, car manufacturers have introduced several safety features like third brake lights, headlights, rear-view mirrors, collision warning systems, lane departure warning sensors, navigation lights, backlights, brake lights, and other features to promote safe driving, protect life, and prevent road accidents.
Among these safety features, the third brake light is one that many motorists still haven’t grasped its importance as many believe that the third brake light is yet another fancy light to beautify their cars. While the third brake light gives our cars a distinctive rear styling, it is designed to be easily seen over the hood line of the following vehicle so as to serve as a warning signal that the vehicle in front is slowing down. Car lighting systems serve three major purposes: vision, visibility, and communication. This is why there are headlight laws governing automotive lighting such as headlights, fog lights, brake lights, and taillights. But what of third brake lights? What is the importance of third brake lights and where is it located?
The importance of third brake lights
Since the 1980s, it has been made compulsory for cars in the United states of America to have central brake lights popularly known as the third brake light. This light is usually located above the car’s rear window for some SUVs, the deck lid, the spare wheel carrier, or higher than the left and right brake lights for other cars. The reason for this additional light according to recent research is so that drivers who get too close to the rear of other cars while in traffic can be able to tell when the car in front is slowing down or moving without seeing the brake lights. Another research suggests that the third brake light could help distracted drivers slow down behind moving traffic.
The third brake light which is also called the safety brake lamp or high-level brake light helps the driver behind to know when you hit the brakes. Especially when the car in front is a saloon and the one behind is an SUV or a truck. The third brake light is also useful to the driver behind when his or her view is interrupted by other vehicles. Furthermore, in some countries where a car’s rear navigation lights are allowed to emit red lights, the third brake light helps resolves the confusion of whether the driver in front intends to navigate or stop. This attribute of the third brake light is of great importance, especially during nighttime driving.
Why do third brake lights use LED bulbs
Over the years, many automobile designers have adopted the light-emitting diode (LED) units as their preferred bulb to blend more subtly into the vehicle’s body lines. Unlike halogen and HID bulbs, the LED units are smaller in size, don’t consume much energy, its cheaper to produce, are easier to maintain, last longer, and can be easily customized into various styles for vehicle exterior and interior decorations. Additionally, LED bulbs light up faster which is perfect for a third brake light because it will notify other drivers of your action immediately. Below are other reasons why third brake lights make use of LED bulbs.
It’s no new news that LED bulbs tend to last longer than filament bulbs. Based on recent studies, the LED bulb uses 80% less energy to produce the same amount of light that a halogen bulb would have used.
- Cost Effective
For less than $40, an OEM third brake light can be obtained. The affordability of the LED bulb is what makes it the best lighting choice for car designers. Additionally, they can be easily replaced compared to other types of bulbs.
Because LED lights are usually brighter than halogen and other types of bulbs, they are ideal for car third brake lights since they will make it easier for drivers to be able to see the light when the brakes are engaged.
What to do when your third brakes light stopped working
When the third brake light of your car is faulty, it is as dangerous as having a bad main brake light. This is because there is an increased chance of being part of a rear-end accident when the third brake light of your car doesn’t work. There are a number of reasons why your third brake light isn’t functioning. The first is that the bulbs are burnt due to usage. Other reasons may be due to bad connectors or wiring problems and you will have to replace them as well.
If you would like to upgrade your third brake light from halogen to LED, the best time to do it is when you have a faulty third brake light. While changing your third brake light, make sure that you read the user manual of your car to determine the bulb type and size in detail. This is because if your third brake lights are over bright and blinding the driver behind, it can create problems in the future. To change your third brake light from halogen to LED, simply locate the third brake light housing, and open it using a screwdriver. Remove the burnout bulbs from the socket, adjust the wiring, and re-attach the housing. However, if you realize your third brake lights are blurry or dim, you can wipe the surface with a headlight restoration wipe.