Vehicle lights have important jobs

Don't signal, signal too late, don't dim, don't turn headlights or tail lights on, don't turn fog lights off...

Without a doubt, one of the most popular topic suggestions that I receive has to do with vehicle lighting.

Either they are not being replaced when burned out, aren’t being used properly (or at all) by drivers or are causing problems because of brightness or colour.

Most include the complaint that neither drivers nor the police are regularly checking vehicles and doing or enforcing the required maintenance.

Some of the smartest drivers I ever stopped for a burned-out bulb dealt with the issue by thanking me for bringing it to their attention.

They reached into their glove box, took a spare bulb out and immediately replaced the dead one. How could you write someone a ticket in those circumstances?

Don’t signal, signal too late, don’t dim, don’t turn headlights or tail lights on, don’t turn fog lights off, the items on this list seem endless.

These lights all have a job to do and it’s up to the driver to know how to use them and use them properly, every time. If you are paying attention to the task, how difficult can it be to do this?

Finally we are left with the decorators, the blinders and some that are legal but annoying.

The right colour in the right place in the right number is something I have written about often. I’ve also explained how some lights can be legal yet are perceived as glaring nuisances.

“Make it right” could be a good slogan for both vehicle owners and law enforcement.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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