Here’s A Bright Idea: Turn On Your Headlights!
If you have recently driven at night, you may have noticed a disturbing trend: vehicles are driving towards you, without their full headlights turned on. This is incredibly scary, and can cause harm for both the driver, and oncoming traffic. Here is my unscientific theory about why we are seeing this occur.
- Relying on Auto Settings: It’s becoming a fairly standard feature on modern day vehicles where they are equipped with automatic headlights. This enables the driver to “set it and forget it”, allowing the vehicle to determine when the headlights should be engaged. However, this system is not foolproof. Often times, drivers may accidentally turn off the automatic setting while looking for another control on the instrument panel, or potentially, another person driving the same car decides to turn off the auto setting, unknowingly rendering the lights useless at night. Additionally, the systems are limited to only measuring lighting conditions, and not other parameters. For example. it could be mid-day and the lighting conditions are fine, but a major rainstorm is reducing visibility. In this scenario, the full headlight system should be on, but the vehicle might not recognize the need based on lighting conditions. Unfortunately, because drivers aren’t used to turning on their headlights and are overly dependent on the car’s auto features, their vehicles becomes less visible to other drivers.
- Bright Dashboards: To make the problem worse, modern dashboards have the dashboard gauges illuminated whenever the car is operational. Of course back in the good old days, vehicles didn’t have this feature, and without the headlights being on, the entire dashboard was not illuminated. Consequently, people aren’t clueing in to the fact that their headlights aren’t on even though the gauges are visible. The only telltale sign that the headlights are not turned on is within most vehicles although the dashboard gauges might be on, the rest of the dashboard should not have any lighting, such as the radio and climate controls.
Yes, there are bigger risks on the road like impaired driving and texting while driving, but this is a simple fix that could save a life. So pay attention to your vehicle and ensure your full lighting system is engaged when the conditions demand it.
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