Picture of Car Door Warning Color
This is a simple 'Ible about using color to increase automobile safety.

Where I live, traffic is dense. We have a plethora of motorized vehicles in a relatively small area, from big trucks on down to scooters. We have a lot of narrow streets and alleys too. Also, here in Taiwan we enjoy a high percentage of motorcycle and scooter ownership. It used to be highest in the world, and may still be. Scooters and motorcycles are often streaming past cars, whether those cars are parked, standing, or under way. It is dangerous when a car door opens and oncoming traffic, either two- or four-wheeled, does not have enough warning.

I am particularly sensitive to this problem since a slight incident that happened a few years back. It was about 8:30 one rainy morning. I was riding my motorcycle on the way to work, and approaching a red light. Everything was a bit blurry because of the rain on my visor. Legally and in accord with local practice, I was passing to the right of the waiting cars when the right back door of one opened suddenly! The front of my cycle hit it and glanced off at an angle, but I didn't go down. A schoolgirl got out and seemed quite concerned that the car door had sustained no damage. That was annoying. What about me? Someone in the car was scolding her. But I didn't say anything and neither did she. Car door was okay, motorcycle was okay, she shut the door and walked, the light changed, and we all went our separate ways.

I've had two or three cars since then, and now I like to paint the door edges a bright, contrasting color so it is obvious to approaching traffic when a door is opening. As it happened, I painted another set of doors yesterday, and took some photos.

Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
1 can orange spray enamel or lacquer
1 can white spray enamel or lacquer
1 roll masking tape
1 non-orange car
(Optional) some newspapers, if you need to do more extensive masking
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NewY13 months ago

Use clear reflective paint on the color. The difference at night is unbelievable.

milesfromneihu (author)  NewY1yesterday

Very dramatic photos. Looks like everything got painted, including spokes, trousers, shirt, helmet!

ViXiA1 year ago

Clever trick, nice!

spaceraver2 years ago
Like the idea, but what about at night?
milesfromneihu (author)  spaceraver2 years ago
The bright paint probably provides some slight increased visibility at night. But of course door-mounted lights are better.
kaveh feiz3 years ago
good idea but not perfect doing.
milesfromneihu (author)  kaveh feiz2 years ago
Perfection later.
See the bright side!
asteidl3 years ago
It's a wonder that auto mfgr's haven't thought of this.
milesfromneihu (author)  asteidl3 years ago
Yeah. One would think it wouldn't cost them a whole lot, and it would save some lives, and reduce injuries and damage. Maybe Volvo could start. They promote the safety angle. At least they used to.

[Okay. I just sent a message to Volvo, and got this response:
"Thank you for your feedback. Volvo Cars value your opinions!
Your Feedback has been routed to the appropriate party at our division."
I had to submit the suggestion (with link to Instructable) to the Volvo Sustainability division. Not ideal maybe, but best fit I could find that didn't require a chassis number. So can we expect to see a lot of orange-edged car doors starting next year?]

MrFixItGuy3 years ago
There are a lot of bright colored fluorescent paints available. Why not use them?
milesfromneihu (author)  MrFixItGuy3 years ago
I agree. Fluorescent paint would be better, with white undercoat of course. Also, in the comments people have been promoting reflective tapes and LEDs. All have their benefits.
  • LEDs throw more light than paint, tape, or reflectors, especially at night.
  • Reflective tape is easy to apply, and more reflective than paint per given area.
  • Paint is durable, and will still be working decades later.
A good combination would be reflective tape or bright paint plus LEDs.

My cousin points out that nothing really makes up for caution and awareness on the part of the person opening the car door. Many people here not only first look carefully, but open a car door an inch or two and hold it there for a few seconds to alert oncoming traffic. Then they ease the door open.
You can probably find retroreflective beads (the stuff they add to crosswalks and traffic lane stripes) to add to your paint when it is wet, but applying that to anything other than a horizontal surface might be difficult. Tape might be easier. The reflective strips used on life jackets might be a good choice - check your sporting goods/boating supply store.

I had a car that had red lights on the door that turned on when you opened it, but if I had that now I'd add a switch - sometimes you don't want your lights coming on when you open a door.

I agree though, for visibility, a combination of 1)contrasting color, 2)reflective material, and 3) LEDs would be best.

Just make sure your LEDs are noticeable (pulse or strobe them?) and make sure your lighting color scheme doesn't conflict with traffic laws (if it is red, it resembles a brake light, blue and green are often restricted to emergency vehicles).
asteidl Ketzer3 years ago
You can find conpicuancy tape just at just about any truck stop and/or RV supply center.
georion Ketzer3 years ago
you can "throw" the beads,have something to catch the ones that dont adhere to the paint and keep reusing them--actually all other ideas are "cheaper"
milesfromneihu (author)  georion3 years ago
I used to have a manual flock gun. I bet that would work with those beads.
This is a good idea. Having the warning indicated so professionally and distinctly might decrease the time necessary to leave the door open to alert oncoming. So it saves time and guilty consciences by saving events for the video games environments and not where you have things to do.
asteidl3 years ago
Very good idea, milesfromneihu. Motorcyclist-awareness is something 4-wheeled drivers in my area lack. Lots of crashes and fatalities. Though my town has very little street parking, ya never know where ya might go. Definitely keeping this 'ible idea in mind.
very smart, I love it 10/10 as a cyclist I think this should be standard on all cars, well done.
vwmadman3 years ago
Way to go with a simple solution.
Consider adding a step in the beginning to lightly sand the original car paint. Eventually, the spray paint should peel and flake without a roughed surface to adhere to. A cheap paint job (whole body/touch up) sometimes doesn't use a primer coat for paint adherence and instead relies on light sanding of the original paint. Most spray paints, purposes for vehicle coloring or not, will flake with time.
milesfromneihu (author)  vwmadman3 years ago
Light sanding would doubtless improve adhesion. I didn't do it. We'll see how my paint job holds up.
meenzal3 years ago
You can buy self sticking tape with embedded LEDs for about $20. Enough to do a couple of doors. They're very bright, you can select your color, and they also provide illumination at night when the door is open or ajar. They run at 12-15v, just right to wire into the door switch. Mine come on when the door opens 1/4 inch. Because they're self contained, no electronics knowledge is necessary and they're waterproof enough that weather and car washes don't bother them. An added advantage is, if you ever sell the car and the new owner doesn't like them, they can be removed without damaging the finish, the excess adhesive removable with a little GooGone. The LED strips are available from many online electrical supply and electric surplus stores. Cut them between the LEDs with scissors to fit them. Easy Peasy.
Very interesting ideas, both painting and leds, but...
I am not sure if there is space enough in my car.
I've seen a kind of led stripes with different colours (blue, white, red,...) even I have some to put inside, roof and floor, under seats, killing blind zones (some day, promissed...)
Are you sure they are brilliant enough?
Could you tell the place or better a site to acquire?
It would be perfect to compare with mine

1,20m 10,20��� 2700K-3500K 12V.jpg5,00m 35,70��� 3500K 12V.jpganother known.jpg
they will definately be enough at night, but during the day is the problem. i have seen led light strips that work equally well in the day as night.
You want to make sure that you get "high intensity" LEDs. The regular ones would be a bit lacking.

I found this link: http://www.oznium.com/led-flex-strips. The website specializes in these LED products.
i didnt even know they made HI led light strips. the only ones i have ever seen was at walmart!!...lol :)
I just found this company too: http://www.ledwholesalers.com/store
Their stuff is also available at Amazon, which is where I found them.
I happened to get the ones I used from West Florida Components about a year ago. They were sold as Ultra Bright LED strips. Sadly, I just looked at they are not available there now. But do a search on "ultra bright LED strips" and I suspect that you will find a source.

The strips I have are very low profile and fit with room to spare. They are very brilliant and visible in daylight as well as night.

This is not to say LEDs are a better solution --the author of this 'ible has a great idea that's easy to do. This is just another idea, like reflective hazard tape. Maybe to be safe, paint the area, apply reflective tape, and put LEDs on top. :-)

By the way, in case an accident does occur, I suspect an insurance company would look fondly on this as demonstrating the car owner tried their best to avoid problems.
They changed names of pics... where you can see meassures and prices.

1st- 1,20m 12V 2700-3500K = 10,20€
2nd- 5,00m 12V 3500K= 3570€
3rd- unknown
milesfromneihu (author)  meenzal3 years ago
Who could not like them?
555mst5553 years ago
You realise, when your door is fully opened, people will be like" why in the world is it orange?!" But, screw what they think. This practical! On another hand, you could also put reflective tape so that it's also visible at night. But still, this is a great idea! and without this i'bles i wouldnt even think about reflective tape.
Why are people underwear strange colors? Because it is private. Door should be closed unless exchange of people.
laedal3 years ago
That extra second is what it is all about. Сериал Ад на колесах
Older Rolls Royces had reflectors, kind like this. The same idea non the less.
Yeah. Reflectors, reflective tape, reflective paints, lights; they all go under the Door Edge Visual Enhancement heading.
caarntedd3 years ago
This should be standard on all cars. Great Idea, go make some money with it.
milesfromneihu (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
I don't see any way to monetize it.

But if it saves some mishaps, do I get credit in heaven?
ilpug3 years ago
Such a simple idea. Made me facepalm for not thinking of it. Commendations upon thee.
londobali ilpug3 years ago
ME TOO!!! :)
draghkar3 years ago
It's a pretty good idea, Although I'd consider reflective tape. But hey, you made bikesnobnyc's blog too!
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