When you hop in your car, you have a profound amount of freedom. You can go anywhere there is a road. Anywhere you'd like. In exchange for this freedom, you're expected to adhere to certain laws. they're pretty simple. But one matter of driving legality may change in the future...

Red, green, yellow... white?

Look, it's Drivers Ed 101. Traffic lights are the rulers of larger intersections. We all play nice, and we all eventually get to drive. Red is stop, green go, yellow... hurry up! Or, actually, slow down. But soon, there may be a new color added to traffic lights. One that will have a new meaning for motorists.

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That new color is white. As I first saw on our sister site in Michigan, the white light could be one day a mainstay on all, or most traffic lights. This would be the first major change since yellow was added in 1923.

What would it mean?

What would the fourth light color mean? What would you have to do? Well, nothing too different. It would serve as a way to alert you that an autonomous vehicle (AV) or multiple AVs are going through an intersection. Then, the human motorist... that's weird to say... would follow the AV. In other words, the car(s) would communicate with the light, which will then gather which direction it would more efficient to send, and which it would be more efficient to stop.

The idea is the AVs send information to the light to allow traffic to flow smoothly because they'd represent a real-world example of how many cars are going in each available direction. So, think of it as following the (AV) leader. More AV cars would likely trigger the light to allow that group of cars to go, while stopping traffic in another direction.

When will we see these white lights?

This addition is not likely to happen anytime soon. AVs make up a (huge) minority of the road traffic today. That is likely to one day change as they become more available, and as more commercial/shipping vehicles become autonomous. There would be a cost to update all existing lights, too. That would slow a rollout down even more.

It doesn't matter if you're driving an AV, or you're a regular ol' humanoid still operating your vehicle, here are some cheap Iowa destinations to check out.

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