Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Turn down the lights

Anyone driving down the 148 at night is sure to see a common sight, headlights that are blindingly bright. This is not just annoying, but incredibly unsafe. Being blinded while driving at high speeds is a recipe for disaster. It stuns you until your eyes readjust and in that time period, a lot of bad things can happen.
Sometimes this is just an instance of someone forgetting to turn their high beams off, but it often seems as though even the low beams are just way too bright and are designed with a total disregard for other motorists.
There are good reasons for needing headlights bright enough to see fallen trees, washouts, broken down vehicles or animals that might be crossing the road. Using high beams when there’s no one in front of you can be a smart move, especially on dark country roads. Hitting a large animal like a deer or a bear can be life-threatening, not to mention expensive. But that needs to be tempered with the reality that there are other cars on the road, and blinding someone could also have disastrous consequences.
Governments, car companies and motorists should do their part to minimize the hazard these overly bright lights present. Regulations on the brightness of lights already exist, though that seems to have not prevented the problem, whether through lack of enforcement or weak penalties. Either way, processes should be revised to keep dangers like ultra-bright lights off the road.
Elected officials and transportation authorities need to be pressured to push for reforms or at least to raise awareness.
Car companies and headlight suppliers should also self-regulate in order to improve the quality of the products they are selling and make everyone safer. Ideally, the regulation shouldn’t be required, but as long as there’s a market for something, somebody will provide it if they are able. Features like high beams that automatically turn on and off based on what’s in front of them is a great feature and should be made standard. This makes it easier for drivers to maximize safety conditions for themselves and their fellow drivers. Also, windshields that reduce glare based on the conditions could work. Car companies could surely come up with other innovative solutions to the problem.
In the meantime, the final responsibility lies with every driver. Obviously, make sure you turn off your high beams when you are approaching an oncoming vehicle. It’s hard to be conscious of this 100 per cent of the time, but staying aware of it will help. Getting blinded yourself is often a good reminder not to do it to others.
It would also be good for motorists to check the brightness of their default headlights and make adjustments when necessary. If the light is too bright for you it’s probably too bright for others.
Apply the golden rule. Through that alone, driving conditions would be a lot safer.


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