2011 Ford FiestaEnlarge Photo
The 2011 Ford Fiesta has garnered loads of attention in recent months. It's been popular with drivers and journalists, and it's been the subject of a highly successful marketing campaign. Now there's yet another reason to look forward to the Fiesta's U.S. release: it will be the first American Ford vehicle to offer a three-blink signal for lane changes.
Being stuck on the freeway behind someone with his/her blinker on isn't just distracting and frustrating, it's also dangerous. Sure, that driver could've simply forgotten to turn off the signal light, but what if the guy really intends to switch lanes? Ford aims to rid the roads of such hazards by borrowing some tap-for-three technology from Europe: to change lanes in the Fiesta, drivers need only nudge the turn signal to the left or right, and the car will fire off three blinks, then shut off. For turns, drivers can push the control slightly further to generate a persistent signal.
Even better: the Fiesta is merely the first Ford vehicle to deploy the three-blink technology. It's also expected on the 2011 Ford Super Duty, and if all goes well, it should appear on other models down the line.
Curious types can skim Ford's equally curious press release below.
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DEARBORN -- Does the sight of a blinker flashing on the car in front of you for miles and miles drive you crazy? You’re not the only one.
This annoying habit is so frustrating to drivers that it made the “Top 10 Driving Pet Peeves” list by a leading vehicle insurance company, which surveyed thousands of drivers nationwide. Nicknamed Morse Coders in the survey, these drivers often cruise for miles without realizing their blinker is on. Meanwhile, they are annoying everyone behind them.
With tongue in cheek, Hagerty Insurance Agency, which conducted the survey, suggested that Morse Coders are leaving their blinkers on for a reason: “Now let’s be fair. Perhaps these Morse Coders are part of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project, their turn signals beaming out across the galaxies in search of other life forms – or not.”
On a more serious note, national research by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., found that consumers are confused by turn signals that are left on.
“Most drivers have found themselves behind cars that have their signals on after changing lanes,” said Jim Thomas, senior vice president of RDA Group. “This can be confusing because there is no way of knowing if the signal is a real indication of an upcoming turn or not. To reduce this confusion, drivers want vehicles to automatically disengage the turn signal after making a lane change.”
New Ford technology, coming this summer on the 2011 Ford Fiesta, does exactly that.
Ford’s three-blink lane change technology is simplifying the way drivers maneuver on the road. With a simple flick of the switch – either up or down, depending on which lane the driver is moving into – the turn indicator will blink three times and automatically shut off. The switch can be held in the lane change position longer for additional blinks beyond the three minimum.
To engage the turn signal, drivers move the switch into the standard position, one more press past the lane change mode.
“This allows the driver to let go of the switch and concentrate on driving,” explains John Murphy, Core Switch Product Engineer. “Instead of holding down the switch, they can give a quick tap, show a three-blink warning that they are about to merge and change lanes. It’s that simple.”