Obviously the most important reason to stand out in the dark is so that you’re seen and other vehicles won’t hit you. While high functioning headlights and taillights help with this, it is still very easy to miss a gray vehicle with lights on during pre-dawn or dusk hours. White and red vehicles stand out very well against the road, but more neutral vehicles are often missed by drivers. So how do you make your car stand out? Let’s look.
Reflector tape is absolutely legal in most states for vehicles to have, and required for most trailers on state highways and interstate roads. A little strip of it over the bumper of a car with small taillights may save that bumper from an unfortunate incident.
Trailers are sort of a law unto themselves. We’ll get into lighting two sections down, but trailers should always be equipped with plenty of reflectors no matter what kind of trailer they are. The ideal trailer is visible on a pitch black road, with a flashlight shined on it, at over 200 feet. This doesn’t mean that you need to see the entire trailer in high definition detail, but you do need to make out that the trailer is there.
The reason that some colors of vehicles cost less to insure than others is that they are high visibility colors. Traditionally white, red, bright yellow, bright blue, and bright green vehicles have been considered high visibility colors, though white is debatable in areas where there is significant snowfall.
If you have a dark vehicle, consider getting a bright orange or yellow pinstripe effect on it. A bright red applique or a shockingly blue sticker on the bumper will get the attention of drivers faster than the dull brown or black of your car’s exterior. If your vehicle can be seen, you have less chance of getting smashed. No guarantees, though.
So what do we mean when we talk about lighting? Obviously your mandatory lights must be working, but there are other lights that may help a dark vehicle get recognized. Bright rims around your mandatory lights will help small or dim ones stand out against the color of your vehicle. Fog lights, installed aftermarket, may help you see as well as be seen.
With trailers, since we said we’d talk about trailers, you can never really have enough lights. Even if your state does not require turn signals or brake lights, at least use magnetic flashing lights on the back of your trailers so people are aware that they exist. We strongly recommend lighting your trailer up like a Christmas tree, with enough lights to power a small city, if possible. The brighter a trailer is, the less likely it is that someone will hit it and the less likely it is that someone will have an excuse to sue you. Check your local laws with regard to the allowed number of lights a trailer can have and go to the max.