Please Light Up My Life
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Regulations are for a purpose. Often that purpose is to protect the individual and others.
It’s late October and around 5 p.m. . . meaning, dusk is in full swing. It’s also overcast and drizzling. A black car comes toward me with no lights on of any kind. I have no idea it’s there until it materializes out of the misty pre-darkness about four car lengths away. The driver of the no-lights vehicle apparently felt he/she could see clearly enough, but an awareness that they were difficult-to-impossible to see was a country mile above their heads.
Daytime Driving Lights (DRLs) – lower intensity but visible lights – are mandatory in some countries. The purpose of DRLs is to reduce the risk of collisions in daytime by making vehicles more noticeable to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. All vehicles sold in or imported into Canada and built after Dec. 1, 1989, must be fitted with DRLs.
The statistics on DRLs accident prevention vary from venue to venue, but most places show a decrease of collisions and injuries. One can even find the odd case being made that they are actually more dangerous. (I’m guessing this argument is proposed mostly by members of the Flat Earth Society.) But facts are facts: in low visibility conditions DDLs absolutely make vehicles more conspicuous.
Governments establish all manner of regulations for the purposes of protection: seat belts, motorcycle helmets, infant seats, restaurant food storage and handling codes, etcetera. When encountering car after truck after car with no lights on in dim, dusky light conditions, I wonder why legislators do not mandate DDLs. People are forgetful or do not realize that no one else can see them in murky weather conditions, hence, masses of metal come hurling out of the darkness toward others that cannot see them. Why do we legislate minimum eyesight standards for operating a car but allow unlit vehicles to operate in conditions where even 20-20 eyesight is no help?
Personal freedom is a good thing . . . unless it endangers others. I often flash my light at oncoming darkened vehicles which can hardly be seen in inclement conditions. Very seldom does it result in the other driver turning on any lights. I’ve even been given the finger for what the other driver apparently thinks is my telling them what to do. While I chortle at their ignorance, my hope is that it doesn’t lead to an accident.