Chicken lights...

George S. Cole gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Tue Nov 14 15:02:09 UTC 2000

In a recent conversation with a long-haul trucker, I noted that on my
almost daily trek on I-81, I see a number of situations where a trucker
is speeding, comes up on a point in the road where, to the side, a
Pennsylvania state trooper is sitting in wait.  The trucker, of course,
hits his brakes, and the bright lights of the truck serve as a warning
that a state police officer is nearby.

The person with whom I was talking laughed, and said "those are his
chicken lights".  I asked for a clarification, and he said that when the
lights light up, those are chicken lights.  He mentioned that he knew of
one trucker who was experimenting with using a switch to turn off the
lights that react to braking activity, except for the times of a DOT

When you step on your brake, and the lights come on, and can be seen by
the police officer, that is an indication that you know that you might
have been speeding.  So, the other trucker was testing a method of
hiding his braking activity.

Most of the web sources that I've looked at mention 'chicken lights' in
the mere sense of lights.  None that I've seen refer to the braking
light display as being 'chicken lights.'

Would like to know if anyone is aware of a source for the 'braking light
display' use of chicken lights.

George S. Cole    gscole at
Shippensburg University

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