Using Headlights in Bad Weather — Listen to the Truck Drivers!

Despite many years of advice and even laws to change the situation, many people apparently still don’t get it that headlights are not just to help them see where they are going!

Photo showing the serious lack of view in a truck's mirrors during rain.
The lack of view in a truck’s mirrors during rain. Photo courtesy of Ryan Douglas Dorius

The other job of headlamps is at least as important, and that is to increase safety by making vehicles more conspicuous so that other road users will see them approaching.  Put simply, there are still far to many people who very unsafely drive in rain or other bad weather without putting their lights on.

Photograph of an unlit car which is almost invisible as it overtakes a semi-tractor-trailer in heavy rain and spray.
The driver of the sedan in the lane at the left-hand side of this photograph is causing an obvious danger through the near-invisibility of the car in the heavy rain and spray, and this perfectly makes the point about the need for using headlights during bad weather driving, and during dusk and dawn light.  Image copyright, Eddie Wren / Advanced Drivers of North America, Inc.

The first photo above and the words below are by well-known truck driver and Facebook blogger Ryan Douglas Dorius — with his full permission, of course — and show how deadly the problem is from that point of view:

Okay friends that aren’t truck drivers, I have a public service announcement. This is what the mirrors on a big truck look like in the rain. I’m a hundred feet long and sometimes can’t see half that far back, so if you don’t have your headlights on, I can’t see you! I also weigh 129,000 pounds, so if I change lanes and tangle with you, I’ll win…I’ll probably get the ticket, but that won’t mean a lot to you if you end up dead. Just use your head and if it’s raining, snowing, or foggy, TURN YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON.”

Read more from Ryan here.

It would be nice to think that Daytime Running Lights [DRL] would solve a big part of this problem, but DRLs are themselves often flawed and this can cause a different type of dangerous collisions.  When time permits, another post will be added here about that aspect of these serious driving dangers.

Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at:

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