Long ago, aCarPlace — this site — started a campaign to bring amber turn signals back to the United States. Lighting expert Daniel Stern has pointed out that amber turn signals save lives, by making it clear and obvious that a brake light is a brake light, not a turn signal (especially when cars have a burned out light on one side). Research has shown that even that momentary clarity has a measurable impact, when blown up to a national scale.
Fiat Chrysler today announced both a new automatic braking system, and the greater use of amber turn signals starting with the 2019 Ram, Wrangler, and Cherokee. Not all trim levels will have them, but amber-colored turn signals will apparently be available on some trims or as an option. It’s a start.
FCA also announced that its automatic emergency braking strategy would move. The company committed to an effective sensor-fusion technology back in 2016, which reduces false alarms and prevents Tesla-like “the camera didn’t see it” failures. The 2019 Ram 1500 is the first of their vehicles to consolidate the cameras and radar sensors behind the rearview mirror; in the past, the radar sensors were in the grille. That may increase reliability, since the radar sensor will be shielded from the elements. In any case, Ram was able to move the maximum speed for reaching a full stop to prevent a front collision from 25 mph to 31 mph.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is also the first pickup with dual LED projectors in an adaptive system which directs beams according to steering-wheel input.
The author of books on the Dodge Viper, Jeep pickups and wagons, and Chrysler minivans (as well as a kid’s book about early Jeeps), David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.com and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form.