Let’s talk about turn indicators, simply known as indicators in everyday language. Indicators – they’re these things that can be found on the four corners of the vehicle, which more than half of today’s drivers seem to have forgotten about. But they’re great. Both in cities and in the country you come across so many different versions that you wonder whether the rules in Germany are really that clear? They definitely are. But obviously the rules are sometimes interpreted a bit more loosely, so we’ll show you a few no gos and some attractive alternatives to standard indicator lamps in our mini series. Click clack click clack …

Everything is set out in the rule book. There’s a rule for everything in our country. We don’t want to list them all and bore you in the process. Just remember this: there are clear rules as to the color (amber), the flashing frequency (90 times per minute +/- 30 times) and the number of lamps, which mostly depends on the length of the vehicle, the distance from the road, the exterior of the car, other lamps, and so on.

At the start of the last century, mechanical trafficators were still popular, but by the end of the 1950s flashing lamps had prevailed. Up to the late 60s red ones at the back were also allowed in Germany, and in many imported US cars the brake light or rear light took turns with the indicator. Nowadays there are many ways of catching the attention of other road users with the amber lights. In some models they’re placed below or above the headlights as LED strips, in others they run from the inside to the outside in the direction of turning. Next to the headlights, integrated in the headlight housing, or wherever else it’s permitted – designers know no limits and keep coming up with things in every new model that has to be different than anything else before. But they’re only indicators.

These “only” indicators can look very pretty in their different shapes though. It all comes down to personal taste of course. Some prefer yellow reflectors, others amber colored lamps. Some tuning lights look green or blue at first sight, only showing their true colors when flashing. Magic? No, just skilled use of color theory. That’s how Osram introduced OLEDs to rear lights and series production for the first time in collaboration with rear light specialists odelo. So lamps from the 60s had better watch out.

At the end of the day people are creatures of habit. We got so used to the click clack sound from the dashboard that we don’t want to do without it. Today it’s not always relays producing this clicking sound. Electronic circuits use flip-flops to switch the lamps on and off, but since we want to hear a sound, a speaker is clicking in the same rhythm for us. It’s all good. That way we can hear inside the car that something’s flashing outside. And how good or not good it’s supposed to and allowed to look according to the rules, we will show you in the coming weeks.
So how flashy are you? Share it with us.

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