Wed | May 18, 2022

Bright lights a driver blinder

Published:Friday | July 10, 2015 | 5:38 PMKawain Fearon
Bright headlights of the oncoming vehicle going against most of the traffic on Portmore's Municipality Boulevard, St. Catherine, popularly called I-95.
A car with bright headlights, which obscure other motorists' vision.
The headlight of a car in a dim position that will not affect other motorists.

Driving at night can be difficult and stressful given that many of our roadways are poorly lit and poorly marked - and don't forget the 'shifting' potholes. Therefore, I get why motorists would utilise those bright headlamps.

But let's be real. A little courtesy can and ought to be extended to your fellow motorists.

While courtesy is optional in today's society, it seems following the road codes also is. In an attempt by some motorists to either chase vampires away or recreate daytime, other drivers are forced to suffer.

These motorists with the bright lights are usually unfazed by oncoming motorists trying to indicate to them that their lights are too bright by switching to dim, bright, and dim again. Instead, they may think it's a light show or warning that police are ahead.

For the four-eyed motorists like me, the problem is often compounded by glare. We are forced to slow considerably; or just watch the white lines (provided that they are there); or better yet, 'hitch up' in the corner, hoping you will pass quickly.

I recall that a few times, I have had to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand trying to block the reflection from my rear-view mirror. How safe is that?

I get that some cars come with the bright lights, but it also comes with the option to make it dim. Use it! I can't imagine the flick of a finger being that great a task. But in case you may have forgotten, here's a little reminder of when your lights should be dimmed: approaching an oncoming vehicle, driving behind a vehicle, in well-lit areas, when going around a corner, and approaching a hill. These are simple rules to follow. If you abide by them often, then it's no problem.

Failure to have properly working lights usually gives the police liberty to stop and interrogate you. While some may give you a chance to get it fixed, others may dip into your grocery budget and give you a ticket.

We are all road users, so let's all be courteous and dim those lights.