Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Turn Signals

Car makers face a challenge styling the front of their cars: There are so many seams. The hood, fenders, grill and bumper all have gaps. And the headlights, turn signals and fog lights create more clutter. The current fashion is to group the lights together behind a plastic cowl. It achieves a cleaner appearance with fewer seams and joins.

But it puts the turn signal too close to the headlight. When the headlights are on, the turn signals are very hard to see. Surprisingly, it's the European cars that are the main offenders: VW, Mercedes, Jaguar, and the newest Mini all have this problem. My 2004 Mini has some distance between headlight and turn signal, making the signal easy to see when the headlights are on.

Another concern is the trend of German car makers to use red rear turn signals instead of orange. That's not as bad as the combined brake-light/turn-light sometimes used by domestic car makers. But it can still be confusing.