Obscuring brake / tail lights with modifications

pyrate

Rollin' along
#1
I see a lot of modifications here and on the road in my area and have a question about tail lights. Many are fine but every once and awhile I see vehicles that have so much on the back or the way it's laid out makes the brake / tail lights almost impossible to see. Naturally tail lights at night are more noticeable but brake lights can be harder to see during the day, especially once the vehicle has been on trails and covered in dirt, mud etc.

Has anyone seen a good aftermarket option to add more brake / tail lights to vehicles? We put tons of light on the front of our trucks but it seems the rear may be lacking in some cases. I realized 3rd brake lights up high are required and helpful but this is one of three lights left to keep us from getting rear ended.

Attached are a couple images where you can see some potential problems. One has a moto rack with extra lights but many do not. The others are examples of where at certain angles, there may only be one light visible. Thoughts?

Thanks! ford-van-rear-bumper-bike-rack-accessories.jpg 2016-Tacoma-3rd-Gen-Overland-Series-Rear-Bumper-High-Clearance.jpg
 

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southpier

Expedition Leader
#2
I don't think it's a mechanical problem, but rather a "it won't happen to me because i'm invincible" problem. I have often wanted an electronic billboard across my backside with a half-dozen pre-programmed messages so I could let folks behind know they were acting wonky.

"stay back" "don't tailgate" "don't even think of honking your horn"

you get the idea.
 
#3
Or how is it even remotely legal to darken taillight lenses? Puts everyone near you in danger. .for what?

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
#4
I don't think it's a mechanical problem, but rather a "it won't happen to me because i'm invincible" problem. I have often wanted an electronic billboard across my backside with a half-dozen pre-programmed messages so I could let folks behind know they were acting wonky.

"stay back" "don't tailgate" "don't even think of honking your horn"

you get the idea.
I noticed many AU rear mod's include lights in the rear bumper while in the US we don't notice that as much. Granted, many AU vehicles use trays vs fenders so there isn't a mounting point for lights. But I agree that many don't even think about what might happen.

I think it is odd to not see red LED light bars mounted on the back or something like it to address the issue.
 
#5
My LR has a light up high (legal requirement) but I have only added a rear swing out tire carrier for convenience for me that still allows both (all three) stop and tail lights to be visible from the rear. I did think about this issue when deciding what to put back of the vehicle.
Previous vehicle was a 63 UniMog that had rather dim rear lights so I added a pair of very bright LED lights and also did extra LED lights to my Pinzgauer. It is very important to have max visibility at the rear.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
#6
If I'm out of a job, I'm going to make sure my cup holders are filled with red hot coffee, and then I'm going to slam my worst car into the back of those trucks as hard as possible.

I could use a couple million dollar paycheck. All of those pics are a serious liability.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#7
Technically speaking I assume most states have similar laws to Colorado, where the traffic codes states you must have at least one tail light and reflector clearly visible from 500 feet from the rear and for any vehicle manufactured after 1958 it must be two. There's a similar requirement for your rear license plate and it must be illuminated.

The reason people ignore it is it's not illegal to modify your vehicle, very few places have periodic inspections and subsequent enforcement (which is a class B infraction, so modest fine, no jail, no license points) is little to none. OTOH commercial trucks that do get inspections follow these rules to the letter.

But I'm also no angel, I sometimes have a bike in a rack that does just this, blocking some of the rear plate. So, I dunno. Personally, I think the question is courtesy. Blocking stop and turn lamps is more irritating to other people and maybe increasing your risk of being rear ended. Which is actually the fault of the rear driver usually and I know I've been ticketed for rear ending someone with non-functioning tail lights (she also got a ticket). Yeah, maybe I could have fallen back more but how am I supposed to know her brake lights weren't working?
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#8
Having hauled racing sailboats lots of miles yr around all of us havd been stopped and warned or ticked for busted lights, or obscured lights etc. Those of you that travel coastal regions a bunch have all seen the sailors who do big miles.

We all end up with a light bar we set or hang across the back of the boat. Often times in addition to the trailer lights. More so in a effort to reduce the chances of our hand built sail boat being punted over us by a rearender accident etc. I even by design would hang random sh-t off the back of the boat to grab peoples attention. Id rather they be looking and paying attention than texting and riding up my stern😉
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
#9
Technically speaking I assume most states have similar laws to Colorado, where the traffic codes states you must have at least one tail light and reflector clearly visible from 500 feet from the rear and for any vehicle manufactured after 1958 it must be two. There's a similar requirement for your rear license plate and it must be illuminated.

The reason people ignore it is it's not illegal to modify your vehicle, very few places have periodic inspections and subsequent enforcement (which is a class B infraction, so modest fine, no jail, no license points) is little to none. OTOH commercial trucks that do get inspections follow these rules to the letter.

But I'm also no angel, I sometimes have a bike in a rack that does just this, blocking some of the rear plate. So, I dunno. Personally, I think the question is courtesy. Blocking stop and turn lamps is more irritating to other people and maybe increasing your risk of being rear ended. Which is actually the fault of the rear driver usually and I know I've been ticketed for rear ending someone with non-functioning tail lights (she also got a ticket). Yeah, maybe I could have fallen back more but how am I supposed to know her brake lights weren't working?
Yeah, I agree it might be the fault of the driver who simply is too close, notified by brake lights or not. I find it ironic those of us that modify our vehicles spend considerable $$ for various things, many to do more dangerous things (off road driving) more safely but we might fail to add features that can help us in the day to day drive on roads with other vehicles.
 

Choff

Adventurer
#10
After I got slammed into the rear end of our van in town, (girl was texting) or?
I installed lower bumper LED long tail lights !!!
because we carry bikes and other stuff in the rear of Vans and other trucks, people don't look up any more-so bright tails and the more the better
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
#11
After I got slammed into the rear end of our van in town, (girl was texting) or?
I installed lower bumper LED long tail lights !!!
because we carry bikes and other stuff in the rear of Vans and other trucks, people don't look up any more-so bright tails and the more the better
Any pics of your lights?
 
#12
I'm not seeing the big issue here. The pictures all show at least 1 tail/brake light. If you were looking straight behind, you'd see both. The 3rd pic shows someone adding trailer lights to the bike hauler, that's the same thing I did for mine. Magnetic lights were super cheap and stick right on. If you see someone blocking their lights, call them out.

I don't see that happening very often as people who just never check their lights and half are burned out.
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
#13
I'm not seeing the big issue here. The pictures all show at least 1 tail/brake light. If you were looking straight behind, you'd see both. The 3rd pic shows someone adding trailer lights to the bike hauler, that's the same thing I did for mine. Magnetic lights were super cheap and stick right on. If you see someone blocking their lights, call them out.

I don't see that happening very often as people who just never check their lights and half are burned out.
The reason I brought it up is recently I had a expedition style truck merge into my lane. The brake light closest to me was covered by his motorcycle wheel that I didn’t see him braking as he merged into my lane (SoCal traffic). I couldn’t see the other light on the far side of his vehicle nor his 3rd brake light because of other obstructions mounted on the back (RTT and spare tire). I almost hit him.

In retrospect, more lights would have helped.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
#14
You're the trailing vehicle, it's your fault whether the lights work or not. I know SoCal commuting woes, it's hard to leave the proper distance or everybody and their uncle cuts in front of you. But if you are going to ride closer or not give up the space when someone wedges in, it's on you to be more attentive.
 

southpier

Expedition Leader
#15
same thing in Boston. people get into the habit of not using their turn signals because most often there is no time. see a gap? fill it!