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Light It Up For Safety.

I’ve been in and around motorsport for close to fifteen years now; a massive, huge, ginormous part of motorsport is the safety aspect, with engineered in crash absorption, roll cages, harnesses and more. In a retail environment, car salespeople will talk about ABS, energy adsorption, traction control, airbags and the like however true road safety is STILL up to the driver. Only the person behind the wheel presses the accelerator, steers the wheel, presses the brake, uses the indicator and, when it’s dark, turns on the headlights.

Or do they?

Modern cars come with a headlight switch with Off/Auto/Low Beam/High Beam, with the Auto linked to a sensor that reads light levels; so, for example, when going into a tunnel, they should come on by themselves and go off when back in daylight. It does seem that too many drivers leave that switch in the Off position, so, when it’s dark or foggy or raining or all three, they have a car that is unseen to other drivers on the road. Early mid January saw a deluge start in South Australia (going a LONG way to helping the brave fire brigade members) and move east towards and over Sydney. Starting mid afternoon Saturday 10 January and continuing well into Sunday, Sydney and a good proportion of New South Wales were under grey skies, with solid light rain and mist greeting drivers. Disturbingly, a disproportionate number of drivers chose to ignore safety by not using their headlights. Here’s a video from overseas showing just how much easier it is to see vehicles with headlights on during a rain spell: offers up some simple, common sense, tips when it comes to driving in the rain, covering not just using headlights but driving to the conditions, having good tyres etc.

Quite simply, a good driver is one that understands that safety is more than simply adhering to a speed limit; common sense, courtesy, an understanding of the ability of yourself AND the vehicle you’re driving, driving appropriately for the conditions and utilising CORRECTLY the equipment your vehicle is fitted with go a long, long way to being a safe driver. Because a speed limit sign says 110 kilometres per hour doesn’t mean you SHOULD drive at that speed if the weather is composed of howling rain, three metres of visibility and an inch of water on the road. A safe driver would drive at a velocity lower than that. They’d also ensure that headlights are lit, windscreen wipers are engaged and the interior demisting system is working.Lights on offSee here how the silver car blends nicely into the background, whilst the darker coloured car, illuminated, stands out much more clearly.

Using headlights, is it REALLY that hard to do?