It is a very rainy, windy day in the Mid-Atlantic area today. Anytime the weather turns sideways or heads south in this area, you know driving on the roads is going to be interesting. Drivers in the Mid-Atlantic region are already bad, but add in rain, snow, or even an earlier sunset (thanks to Daylight Savings Time change) and you will want to pull you hair out with the insanity you are bound to face on the roads.
But the simplest thing to make things safer is if people would follow at least the laws in Maryland. When you have your wipers on, you have to have your headlights on! If you don’t turn your lights on, you are proving to be the most selfish driver on the road.
It is unbelievable how many drivers don’t realize that having their headlights on makes it safer for those coming towards them. Gray skies, rain, wind, and other factors make seeing what is coming very difficult in bad weather. Headlights at least gives you an idea there is traffic coming towards you or where other vehicles are on the road. It is hard to pick out a vehicle in bad weather and lighting without some details like headlights to make it easier.
About a quarter of the vehicles I encountered on this very rainy day didn’t have their lights on. It frustrated me to the point that I even turned my headlights on and off to get the message across. Some just had their parking lights on – which meant the yellow markers and taillights were on, but not their headlights. Yeah, that didn’t really help.
Now some ran with just their daytime running lights thinking they were just fine. I have daytime running lights, but I am smart enough to know that those don’t help anyone in bad weather. First off, those lights tend to be weaker in candle power which doesn’t help your vehicle to be recognized any sooner. Secondly, if you aren’t turning your headlights on, you aren’t turning on your tail lights!
Think about how important the tail lights are!
If I am driving up behind a vehicle in poor conditions and they don’t have their taillights on, I’m not going to see them until the very last second. Nothing like slamming on your brakes on wet roads for that! Turn your taillights on and most of us will be able to see the vehicle in front of us in the rain, wind, and water spray FAR sooner. Thus it’s far safer. You know, there is a reason they equip race cars with tail lights even if they don’t have headlights (left). SAFETY!
According to the American Automobile Association, 18 states require headlights to be turned on when wipers are being used. Another 16 states require headlights to be on for other weather related reasons usually described as “in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather.” These laws don’t exists because suddenly the headlight lobby wants you to use your bulbs faster. It’s a safety feature!
Now, I didn’t have my GoPro mounted in my car today to video tape the insanity, but I found a blog which recently did it in the state of Wisconsin (right). It’s appalling!
I used to laugh when I crossed the Canadian border or saw Canadian plated vehicles and they all had daytime running lights well before they became a thing in the United States. I then realized while driving over the border how much safer it was to see a vehicle coming towards you even in the best of conditions. So, I was thrilled when U.S. cars started making daytime running lights a standard feature.
Insurance companies actually offer discounts if your vehicle has daytime running lights!
So if it’s a good idea to have at least daytime running lights during a perfectly good day. Why won’t you turn your headlights on when in bad weather?
If you don’t do it, you are just being a selfish driver. You are telling everyone else on the road you don’t care to make the roads safer. You are just going to drive the way you want and not worry about others on the roads.
SO… TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS!