Fuel for Thought
Be Seen, Not Hit
A small investment can reap huge rewards. For a little time and a small amount of money, you can increase your level of safety exponentially.
One of the big safety problems for trucks and drivers is visibility. While that may seem odd that the larger vehicles on the road would be hard to see, consider that it is a large moving object, often moving slower than their counterparts, the cars, and usually only have the minimum required lighting. Compared to cars, trucks have a much larger surface area without lights. The rear of your truck or trailer may have the minimum amount of upper marker/clearance lights, brake lights, tail lights, turn signal lights and a license plate light, but these are just minimums. Many times, the brake lights, turn signal lights and tail lights can be the function of just two lights, one on the left and one on the right, further minimizing the number of lights at the rear of your truck. While these are sufficient for DOT inspection, additional lighting can greatly increase your visibility especially in inclement weather.
Tail lights are mounted low for good reason, but when the weather gets rough, road spray, fog or snow and ice can reduce the distance that your lights can be seen by approaching traffic.
Original lights were just the two lower lights in the center and the clearance/marker lights
If you don't already have them, consider adding some multi function LED lights to the rear posts of your truck. For a small cost, narrow LED strip lights mounted on the rear of your truck between the hinges can add greater visibility. As they are mounted higher on the truck, they can be seen above the road spray during heavy rain or snow, reducing the chances of a rear end collision. These surface mounted lights can be installed easily with just basic tools. Since they are surface mounted, there is no need for round or oblong cutouts, further reducing the cost.
Conspicuity tape also adds to the visibility of your truck, but will only help if light can get to it. During adverse weather conditions, conspicuity tape can be rendered practically useless from road grime spray, mud, snow or ice build up, covering the reflective capabilities of the tape.
A few extra lights to increase your safety is always a good investment.
Side note about adding lights to your truck, many believe that if you add additional, non required lighting, and it stops working, you can be cited for inoperable lights. This is not true. You can add 100,000 extra lights to your truck if you desire, and even if 99,000 of them do not work, it will not matter for passing inspection. Only the required lighting MUST work. However, if you add additional stop/turn/tail lights to your truck and the original lights burn out, the additional lights, if of proper size, will suffice for passing inspection.
There really is no downside to adding visibility to your truck, the safety factor alone more than justifies the cost.
See you down the road,