Dealer-installed device makes your upper brake light pulse, giving cars behind you more warning.
Aftermarket additions to cars are often designed to make the car louder, faster, or in some way sportier. Kinetech’s Pulse, a small device designed to make your third brake light pulse, does none of those things, but it’s still worthy of attention for its impressive ability to reduce rear-end collisions. Pulse is a module about the size of a stick of gum that, once connected to your car’s electric system, causes your third brake light to pulse four times when a driver starts braking. Believe it or not, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing has shown that a pulsing third brake light can improve the reaction time of other drivers by at least 40 percent. That 40 percent could mean the difference between a rear collision and no rear collision, which is a fairly compelling reason to shell out for the product. Kinetech claims to test every single device that goes out, and there’s a three-year warranty. Luckily, if Pulse does stop working for some reason, it won’t cause your brake light to short out: you’ll go back to a steady glow instead of a pulse. And to ease the concerns of the traffic regulation savants out there, Pulse does not fall into the same category with the flashing rear lights that many states only allow on emergency vehicles. Kinetech says that it has ensured its product is legal in all fifty states. Kinetech only sells the devices via car dealerships. The products are currently available in twelve states, including California, Texas, New Jersey, and Florida. Mark Olson, the president of Kinetech, says that Pulse will expand its availability to more states as soon as early 2013. Dealers who sell the product must first agree to front load it in all new cars, so Pulse boasts a take rate nearing 100 percent, an enviable figure for any product. Olson says that while Kinetech leaves pricing completely up to dealerships, most sell the product for between $299 and $499.