Monday, June 01, 2009
Automobile Indicators (part one): Emergency Vehicles
While driving, if an emergency vehicle approaches you with lights flashing and sirens blaring you're supposed to pull over to the right, slow down and/or stop, right?
But what if that emergency vehicle wants to turn right and exactly where you've pulled over to get out of the way? I've observed this exact situation numerous times. More recently this happened to myself and trust me, I felt awful. But I'm just doing what we've all been trained to do.
This got me thinking about automobile indicators, especially emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances. Sure I've seen the odd emergency vehicle with small orange indicator lights that have black vinyl around the outside cut to create the shape of an arrow, but it's just not enough.
Why don't they have a specific area or highly-visible lights reserved exclusively for the indication of their intended direction? This could help save valuable seconds, ultimately saving someone's life.
Now, I know what you're thinking... there are already several lights flashing and the situation can be quite panicky when an emergency vehicle suddenly appears in your rear-view mirror with the sirens screaming. But isn't this the moment when clear communication is the most essential? This is a prime example of "if everyone is screaming, you can't hear a thing". Maybe we could even reduce the amount of flashing lights.
I've put together a quick solution for how this could be improved. What do you think? What would you change if you could tweak the design?