Howard Bashinski: Use your headlights
January 31, 2013
I have a bone to pick with Yampa Valley drivers.
For many years, people viewed automobile headlights as something designed to help drivers see at night. In recent years, we have learned the value of headlights as a way to make cars more visible during the daylight hours. Many newer cars now have systems that automatically turn on "running lights" during the daytime. This makes cars more visible to other drivers.
There's a movement supporting using headlights 24/7 to enhance overall road safety. It seems logical that anything increasing the "detectability" of other cars is a good thing. We all should do this. It's a no-brainer.
In particular, however, we need to turn on our headlights when it rains or snows. Years ago, my aunt ran into a white Volkswagen Beetle in a snowstorm; the headlights on the Volkswagen were off. Colorado law requires us to use headlights when the visibility is less than 1,000 feet, but I suggest four situations where we should always use them:
When it is snowing
When it is raining
When there is fog or mist
Your automatic running lights might not come on when it is raining or snowing. It is best to always turn on your headlights and set them to low beam.
Additionally, it is not legal in the state of Colorado to drive with only your parking lights on, as some do. Did you know that almost no cars have parking lights in the rear? You are supposed to use your parking lights when you park your car at night in a place where someone might not expect a car to be parked. Driving with just your parking lights on is very dangerous.
Please don't be that white Volkswagen in a snowstorm. Driving from Steamboat Springs to Stagecoach in a serious snow squall this week, I encountered vehicle after vehicle with no lights on. If you are approached during the rain or a snowstorm by an unlighted vehicle, blink your lights or high beams a couple of times to remind them that it is their responsibility to help keep everyone on the road safe.