I want to take this opportunity to write about something I never thought I would write about. Something I’ve noticed happening more and more on our roads. I am talking about people driving in low-light and even fully dark conditions with no headlights on whatsoever. And It is not just me noticing this disturbing trend. My friends, family and co-workers have all noticed too.
There are some plausible reasons why presumably good, hard-working people would drive at twilight or midnight without their headlights on. It might be that people are busier than ever and distracted, working extra hours and second jobs in order to raise families or just get out of debt. It could be that most newer cars have automatic “dashboard” lights that are on all the time, or automatically come on when it’s dark. This might be enough to lull someone into thinking that their exterior lights are on when they really aren’t. Cars from years ago had no instrument/speedometer lights unless you actively turned on the headlights. It could be too, that someone gets into their car in a brightly lit parking lot after shopping and doesn’t notice that things got much darker after they left the shopping center and lighted residential streets. And it is possible that especially around sunset and sunrise, that some might think that since they can see just fine, therefore, everyone must be able to see them as well. But the worst offender when it comes to distracting otherwise safe drivers is our friend, the cell phone. When a persons’ attention is divided between a text or phone call about the sale at Kohl’s and negotiating the parking lot as they leave the store, details like turning on the headlights can fall into the cracks.
One thing is certain. That is the shock that’s felt when you are the one attempting to turn left against traffic on a dark suburban or rural road, and you see an opportunity to turn but hit the brakes in a panic as a shadow hurtles by you in the oncoming lane. And the driver was probably oblivious to the carnage that almost was. Do yourself, your family, and your fellow drivers a favor and make sure you turn your headlights on when its dark, twilight or raining. The highway patrol will like you more, too.
Written by Ken Kitchen, Ohio licensed agent and GM of Life and Health for HRC Insurance Services