Women Drivers Blog

Importance of the Third Brake Light

January 8, 2015 / 

When driving, it’s important to make sure the brake lights of your car work properly. These are crucial to car driver safety. They light up whenever brakes are applied, notifying trailing motorists to slow down accordingly.

In 1986, the third brake light was introduced by our federal government. It became mandatory to have third brake lights installed in new cars sold our country.

The Importance: Improving Reaction Time

The third brake light is centered in the back of the car and normally placed higher in the form of a rectangular bar. It looks stylish which is sometimes the reason why many think that it is merely included to increase the aesthetic appeal of the car. But this is not the case at all.

Did You Know?

A distracted driver is two-thirds more likely to see and notice the car ahead stopping or slowing, if a third brake light is installed and engaged.

A study between 2006 and 2010 by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the usefulness of a flashing 3rd brake light showed that it improves reaction time of the trailing motorist by almost 50%.

Though the third brake light functions as a warning light just like the main brake lights, because of its centered high mounted location, it is noticeable easily. And the safety of both the car driver and the trailing motorist are greatly improved. This is especially true during night driving when the tail lights are already on. But the third light most certainly helps the trailing driver determine if the car in front is braking or not and then take action immediately.