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Your car may come with safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, but there’s one inexpensive upgrade that could boost your safety on the roads of Colorado: switching your red turn signals with amber or orange ones. The benefits of doing so have been known for decades.

What the NHTSA has to say about amber turn signals

In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that compared to cars with amber turn signals, vehicles with red turn signals are 22% more likely to be hit in the rear when changing lanes, turning or doing something else that requires the use of those signals. The study did not take into account certain biases, though, regarding things like lens type and the physical separation between red and amber elements.

In 2009, the NHTSA conducted a second study to factor out these biases. Still, they concluded that replacing red turn signals with amber ones, without changing the shape or size of the taillight housing, results in 5.3% fewer rear-end collisions.

Automakers hesitate in making the switch

The NHTSA has not mandated the use of amber turn signals, though, and many automakers choose not to switch over. The relatively low cost is no incentive when they must install it in hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

What victims of rear-end collisions can do

Most auto accidents are caused by negligence, and rear-end collisions are often the result of distracted, drowsy or drunk drivers. It could be that such a driver harmed you through little or no fault of your own, in which case you may be eligible for compensatory damages, both economic and noneconomic. If a lawyer evaluates your case, he or she may determine how much you could be eligible for in light of Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law. An attorney may negotiate for that amount too.