Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ranting Stan's Irrational Hatred Of The Week: Headlamp Fetish

Driving along a pretty country road and a beautiful late spring evening with the sun low in the sky last week I was briefly dazzled by the light as I approached the crest of a hill. It wasn't the sunlight, though, it was some idiot driving along in broad daylight with his headlights on.

Why? It wasn't dark. It wasn't raining. It wasn't even a dull, overcast and gloomy day. It was a perfect English evening, bright with light and blessed with sunshine - so why was this fool driving around with his headlamps on?

It wasn't even one of those silly Swedish jobs which only run when you have the sidelights turned on. Did he think I wouldn't see him otherwise? I managed to see all those other cars driving around without their headlights on and I managed to see all those parked cars OK - so why would I not be able to see this car?

I'm seeing more and more people driving around in perfectly good light and weather with their lights on. and it drives me bananas. Headlamps, used inappropriately, are distracting and can dazzle other road users - particularly these days with these very bright halogen bulbs. Why do they do it?

It's beyond me, but I hate it


Anonymous said...

Here in Canada it's the law. You have to have your lights on. Apparantly 'studies' have shown that it saves lives.

JuliaM said...

I may be misremembering, but didn't the EU indicate their desire to introduce this as a possible law a year or so ago..?

bernard said...

People are dumb.
They've been told it costs nothing to keep headlights on, and they believe it!
It adds about 2% on to the fuel cost.
Try this:
Run any vehicle engine on low tick-over then listen very closely to the engine note as the headlight/lights are switched on.
There's an audible change as the magneto has to work harder to provide the extra current.

Nothing comes cost free, not even your breathing.

TheFatBigot said...

And we mustn't forget those who put on their fog lamps at the first sniff of a bit of haze. Terribly dangerous for those behind who will find it much more difficult to judge distance, especially at night.

My belated thanks for last Sunday's drive, you chose a super vehicle.

Stan said...

Anon - for some reason that doesn't surprise me.

Julia - for some reason that wouldn't surprise me.

bernard - do cars atill have magnetos?

FB - fog lights left on when it's not foggy are another "irrational hatred" of mine.

bernard said...

Stan - magneto is an old fashioned term. 'Alternators' supplanted them.

PS. It's illegal to use fog lights when conditions are clear.

English Pensioner said...

I make quite a few late evening trips and the thing that I have noticed is the increasing number of cars with only one headlamp. I suspect this is because bulb replacement in many cars is no longer a DIY job. With my last car (a VW) it was definitely a garage job, which makes a mockery of the German law which requires all drivers in that country to have a spare set of bulbs in the car so that they can replace them if necessary!

TheFatBigot said...

Not entirely a mockery, Mr Pensioner, it guarantees that the garage will have the necessary bulb to hand.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Stan, I have to agree. Something else irks me, and that is that headlights seem to be brighter now than ten or twenty years ago.

And full beam should be made illegal anyway.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

They're just getting ready for when our new masters in Brussles decree that it has to be like this all the time.

Not sure when this happens, but it's soon: next year or the year after.

May as well get used to it, seems nobody is ever going to tell them to take a hike.

Sean O'Hare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean O'Hare said...

Mark Wadsworth said:

And full beam should be made illegal anyway

Err, there would be many more night time crashes without full beam. Definitely needed on unlit roads when no other traffic. Either that or a blanket 20mph speed limit.