Driving in the Philippines can be an eye opening experience; sometimes straddling the line between defying convention, and organized chaos. Case in point, vehicles who refuse or forget to activate their headlights during darker hours of day or during rain. You’d think that being seen is a priority, right? For some, they’d rather save their bulb lifespans than make it safer for everyone, and for others, they actually haven’t gotten to the part in the owner’s manual on how to turn that switch with the light icon.
Lights have been a huge part of vehicle safety ever since the automobile was first invented. Alright, so maybe candles and lanterns were the automotive headlight and taillight of choice back then, but the point is that from since the get go, visibility and the ability to see was always a priority. It’s illegal and irresponsible to ignore that your brake light may be out or that your indicators no longer work on one side; you’re literally an accident waiting to happen. With that in mind, let’s talk about some tips to keep you safe and lit on our roads.
Always make it a point to test out all your lights before you leave for work or go for a drive. This is especially important at night and when a longer drive is in the pipeline, as the time spent behind the wheel is much longer, almost leaving no gaps to stop and check while on the road. Have somebody stand behind your vehicle as you operate the parking lights, taillights, brake lights, reverse lights, and indicators of your vehicle. Have them do the same for the front. You want everything to be in proper working order, and if a bulb is out, a quick trip to any automotive store can score you a good replacement.
While having your lights working is a start, having them properly adjusted and at a specification that matches or exceeds the manufacturer’s standards is a must. Car manufacturers spend millions of dollars on research and development of their products, providing you with the optimum set of lighting for that vehicle. Granted, there are some aftermarket shops that can retrofit your vehicle’s lighting system to exceed specifications and be within legal limits, but these are costly and a luxury to most people.
Always make sure that you keep within the parameters and specifics for bulbs that you will be replacing. Also make sure that your headlights are aimed properly, maximizing light distance and visibility, either through your service center or a reputable automotive shop; you don’t want to be blinding people with misaligned headlights. Oh, and regular drop-in LED bulbs in a regular halogen reflector bowl housing? Not a good idea, unless you like subpar visibility, melted housings, and obnoxious light aim. And don’t get me started on blinking brake lights (insert eye roll).
Know What It’s For, And Use It Responsibly
Too many times have I seen foglights being used on a clear day, especially the rear ones, creating a blinding light for following traffic. And let’s not forget the ones who constantly use their high or full beams when other cars are around, creating temporary blindness through inconsiderate habits. But, by far the most misused light in our vehicles is the indicator, only because it never gets a chance to shine; we’d rather turn the wheel right away than tell other people where we’re going.
I also see a lot of cars that refuse to utilize their headlights in basement or dark parking lots. Remember, the amount of blind corners and parked cars make you hidden without your lights. In the rain, a good rule is that if your wipers are on, your headlights should be, as,well – there’s nothing to lose by increasing your visibility in a light shower. It’s a basic courtesy to increase your visibility in times like these, creating more predictable driving habits.
When headlights are turned on at proper times, high beams are dipped when approaching other road users, and indicators are used to signify lane changes and turns, it creates an overall safer driving environment that benefits everyone, including pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.