Whenever there is any discussion about why so many pedestrians are being hit in our roads, there are complaints that they bring it upon themselves by not dressing in high visibility clothing or carrying lights. Yet the same is rarely said about cars, which are often dressed in black, even though studies have shown that light colored cars have fewer crashes:
“Compared with white vehicles, a number of colours were associated with higher crash risk. These colours are generally those lower on the visibility index and include black, blue, grey, green, red and silver…The association between vehicle colour and crash risk was strongest during daylight hours where relative crash risks were higher for the colours listed compared to white by up to around 10%.”
Now we have Lexus stepping up to help out, going even further than just doing the bright thing, by encrusting a 2017 IS with 41,999 programmable LEDs that can broadcast graphics, videos and perhaps even safety PSAs. According to Lexus,
The custom car produces 175,000 lumens when fully illuminated, and the LED strips, if placed end-to-end, would stretch half a mile in length. Three distinct modes allow the LIT IS to interact with sounds and people in its vicinity. Attract mode features a loop of colorful graphics that highlight the strong lines of the IS and play into its bold styling. Music Viz mode is designed to respond to music, as the LEDs will create custom, responsive displays that perfectly sync to any song. Gesture mode allows the motion of the LED animations to be controlled by users’ hand movements with the help of a gaming console. This mode directly connects the car and the driver, allowing the person to send a signal and see the car respond.
It will be wonderful when this is standard equipment on every car, making them visible from all sides, all directions, day and night. Of course we hope that it is hands-free and that picking the music, moving hands on gaming consoles or sending signals won't be too distracting for the driver or all those safety benefits might be negated.
For example, who knows, if the car in this crash had not been a dark color, if it had been encrusted with LEDs, the pole might not have crushed its roof. (Just pointing out that drivers never get blamed for anything)