We've been driving basically the same way for over 100 years.

Once upon a time, there were only red and green lights. I know it's totally true, because I've seen it in Bugs Bunny cartoons. And let's be real, if it happens in a cartoon, it has to be real. At some point about 100 years ago, the yellow light was added as an additional safety feature. But above and beyond that, any changes were still based on the colors we know at this point.

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One could argue that there really isn't much point to building a better mouse trap, so to speak. Why would there ever be a time where we'd need more than what we have. Well, some new research indicates there's a actually a pretty solid reason why a new light might be a good idea. But it's only partially got to do with you.

A fourth 'white' light is being talked about in some circles...

Adobe Illustrator(R) 8.0
Adobe Illustrator(R) 8.0

So the reason a fourth light could be added, has to do with AV's, or autonomous vehicles. More and more, AV's will be on our roads as some vehicles, like delivery vehicles or some transport vehicles. We all know there's been talk of self-driving cars for people, with mixed results. But it's only a matter of time before it becomes more common.


The key piece here, is that AV's can talk to each other wirelessly, and share traffic information, and research has been done to see if this could all improve traffic flow. The concept is that if the AV's are outnumbering regular cars in an intersection, the light would turn white, and you'd simply follow the AV's through the intersection. Or, you'd stop. More or less, you'd simply just follow their pattern.

Semi-trailer truck
Tomasz WyszoÃÂÃÂmirski

What happens if there's more regular cars than AV's?

Simple... the traffic lights would maintain their normal red, yellow, and green lights. If AV traffic pic ked up again, it would switch back to white, and cars would simply follow the AV's. It all sounds great in concept. Of course, AV's outnumbering regular cars on the road is still a bit off in the future. But some think maybe we should prepare for the eventuality.

Read More: Are New Cars in Maine in Danger of Losing the AM Radio Forever? 

So while this isn't happening in Maine anytime in the immediate future, it also doesn't seem remotely far-fetched. All this could be happening far sooner than any of us think. We'll just have to wait and see...

In case you wanted to read something that makes you cry a little, keep scrolling...

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

Gallery Credit: Sophia Crisafulli

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