Since the dawn of time, man has known the three sacred colors: red, yellow, and green. These three colors have been a comfort for billions of drivers around the world to help control traffic.


Before one learns to drive, one already knows what each color stands for; red (stop), yellow (floor it, pray, or slam the brakes), and green (go).


Photo by Jonny Rogers on Unsplash
Photo by Jonny Rogers on Unsplash


However, a new research study coming out of North Carolina State University has proposed the idea of adding a fourth "white" light, but its reason may unnerve some drivers.


Why add a fourth light?

Traffic lights have had three colors since the addition of the yellow light in 1923, but with new technology comes a need for new colors.

More and more autonomous vehicles (AV) are driving on the roads, and the proposed new light would utilize AV's ability to communicate with nearby AVs and traffic lights to better sustain traffic flow.


Waymo's Self Driving Taxis Launch In Los Angeles
Getty Images


A "white light" would be used to indicate when AVs are "coordinating to facilitate traffic through the intersection more efficiently". Human drivers (can't believe I wrote those words) would simply follow the AVs: when they go, everyone goes. When they stop, everyone stops. Playing "follow the leader" doesn't seem like a more efficient system, but maybe it practice things would run smoother.


The idea of the AVs having traffic control abilities is that the AVs can instantly and more accurately communicate real-time representations of how busy an intersection is. Have you ever sat at a red light despite no one being around? AVs in one area can send information to traffic lights to allow traffic to flow better.



The "white" light is more of an idea, not necessarily meaning the light is literally white. A blue or purple light would work too since it stands out from the other colors (and looks cool at night)


When will "White Lights" become reality?

Drivers most likely won't see these lights anytime soon since AVs are still the minority of vehicles on the road and it would be very expensive to change out so many traffic lights around the country.


Currently, this is the only white light used to coordinate traffic. It is used for trams. / Photo by Felix Janßen on Unsplash
Currently, this is the only white light used to coordinate traffic. It is used for trams. / Photo by Felix Janßen on Unsplash


But, since AVs are becoming more and more commonplace, it is only a matter of time before a major change takes place so real drivers and autonomous drivers can share the road comfortably.


Top 10 Cars Pulled Over for Speeding

What model cars are stopped the most for speeding?

Old Cars Sunk at Bottom of Detroit River

More From 97.9 WGRD