Burn out Brake Lights

I had a close call this morning, something I fear may be happening to a lot of people these days. I was in traffic in the freeway when I realized the
minivan in front of me was slowing down. Problem was it only had about half of the center-mounted brake light that worked. All the rest were burned out, and with the salt and road scum on the back of the van the light that was on was barely visible. Of course it would have been my fault - its rare you can hit someone from behind and not get charged with ACD.
Over the past few years I've notice a lot of cars have burned out brake lights. Stop at just about any busy intersection and you can often see at least one car with a light out. Are the bulb manufacturers making cheaper bulbs these days or are people just less concerned about the upkeep on their cars?
Oh, and while my car probably would have been banged up had I hit the van, my Camry and its airbag probably would have protected me, no telling about the woman in the van and the small child she had un-restrained in the front seat.
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If you hit him he might have been charged as well, you might get off. Keep your camera in your car. Its laziness to not check for bad lights, and he probably has a dash warning light that has been on for years for bulb failure.
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ransley wrote:

(...)
There are a lot of cheap Chinese bulbs out there, and overall quality is down. People are also less likely to spot burned out lights that they can't see themselves, like brake and backup lights. It's long past time for LED brake and marker lights.
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A lot of new cars already have LED lights that last almost forever.
My 98 Camry had a warning light on the dash when the any bulbs were burned out including rear deck brake light. I replaced it with a Sylvania long life bulb (slightly higher voltage rating that doesn't burn quite as bright).
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The OP did not mention the manufacturer of that vehicle without brake lights. I have long noted the same problems. Those failures are more common on vehicles that, for example, are poor at voltage regulation - ie some GM products. Same cars also go through batteries faster.
Never had a single brake light or tail light fail ever on my cars - most everyone owned for over 12 years. 12 years indicates that I don't drive cars designed by cost controlling business school graduates.
Meanwhile, many superior vehicles have long had warning lights on the dashboard to warn of missing brake lights - ie that Camry. When you buy a car on price (ie a Chevy), then costs increase. Brake light bulbs are only one example why. I have often cautioned drivers of their missing brake lights. I usually ask the age of that vehicle. Brake light failure is common among GM products less than five years old. No acceptable reason for brake lights to every fail in the first 100,000 miles. But then some vehicles are designed by cost accountants - not by car guys.
Does the vehicle use orange (amber) turn signals? If not, another failure directly traceable to wrong people doing the design. Cost controllers install red rear turn signals. Cars designed by car guys are orange - essential to human safety. It ain't the Chinese. More often, American finance people doing hardware design make unnecessary failures acceptable that result even in brake lights failing prematurely. Only myths would blame Chinese.
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You may be charged, but depending on the state you are in, it may be partly the blame of the other driver. That is for not keeping the lights burning. My son was cited because he failed to signal a turn far enough away from where he was turning and was hit from behind. That was in North Carolina about 20 years ago.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:
(...)

So the following driver didn't see your son's *car*. How could that driver hope to see the tiny little blinker light?
Inquiring minds want to know.
--Winston
--

I'm still waiting for another sublime, transcendent flash of adequacy.

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That is one of the laws of the state. I don't recall how far it is,but you are suspose to signal atleast so far before you turn. Failing to do that puts the driver at least 1 % at fault and you have to pay to fix your own car.
When I was a teenager a car infront of me was making a left turn and I was stopped behind him. A car hit me from behind several seconds later (it was a 35 mph zone). The driver said I should have been giving a turn signal and I said I should not give a signal as I was not turning but the car in front was turning. The policeman did not cite the driver that hit me in the back for whatever reason.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

I guess law isn't always logical. If I'm driving behind a car, I feel obligated to avoid hitting him. Seems like a minimum level of responsibility to me.

Driver was a fellow cop's family member? <-- Rhetorical question.
--Winston
--

I'm still waiting for another sublime, transcendent flash of adequacy.

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