Turn On Your Headlights

This is my first post in ‘Driving’. I intend to offer tips, rules, and optimizations that many people seem to not understand while driving. Instead of yelling at the windshield, I’ll blog instead and perhaps improve some drivers. I’ll also shame any who are egregiously rude.

First up – headlights. Headlights serve two purposes, both important. First, they help you see. That was the easy one. Second, they help others see you. They can increase your visibility by 40%, according to something I read in a AAA magazine a while back. Canada and, if memory serves, Florida require headlights all the time. Canada, because it’s half-dark there all the time (I kid because I love), and Florida because the increase is most marked among the elderly.

Some times to turn on headlights:

  • Whenever your windshield wipers are on, unless you’re just running the wash cycle. If you’re seeing less than optimally, so is everybody else.

  • When it’s dawn or dusk – never drive with just your parking lights on. They’re called ‘parking’ lights, not ‘I should probably have my headlights on but I’m too cool for that’ lights. Today a lady was passing a car in the other lane on 120, around a curve, at dusk, and it was pretty hard for me to process what was actually happening. She only had her parking lights on, and would have been much more safe with her headlights on. (Shut up, Bevis)

  • All the time. Seriously, what do you have to lose? Since the advent of daytime running lights, nobody flashes you anymore. Your fairly modern car should turn off the lights for you.

One downside to these modern cars are the automatic lights. My wife”s minivan has an automatic headlight light sensor, and it comes on too late for safety. I’m going to experiment with putting a piece of tape over the sensor to decrease the amount of light it receives and see if that turns them on sooner.

So, turn on those lights and save a life.