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December 28, 2008


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John Frewen-Lord

Hi Jim: John F-L here from the UK. I always like it when you bang on about lights, because everything you say makes SO MUCH SENSE! We don't have daytime running lights here in the UK, although I wish we did. People here still have the mentality about 'saving' your lights. Maybe that made sense when electrical systems were weak, speeds were slow and traffic light, but not today. Incidentally, I have my own 'wish list' for lighting systems for North American cars, most of which are mandated in other parts of the world. These include amber turn signals front and back, high intensity rear red fog lights (very valuable on rural roads in low visibility), brake lights separate from tail lights (mostly on Volvos and Mercs), and brake lights that flash faster the harder you brake. To me, lights are one of my first lines of defence - I bet half of all accidents reports involving two or more vehicles will include a statement on the lines of "I just didn't see the other vehicle".

All the best for the new year.


Sometimes I feel as if certain exceptional drivers in the public should have the ability to revoke drivers licenses for idiotic behavior. Driving in poor conditions without their lights on is one of them. Tooling around at 90 in the left most lane is another one. I can't help but think that there must be a fundamental problem to all of this. Oh wait, there is: our driver education system. (*^(*^%*&^%*(&&%^*& Okay, I'm done now.

Much love, drive and ride safe,



I see this on the roads time and time again; people driving at night or in bad weather with their lights off.

If you ask me, every car should do what Volvo does: turn the lights off when the car switches off (maybe with some courtesy lighting if you need it). My parents' Volvo does that, and it means they leave the light switch in the "on" position all the time. It's just safer.

Jim Kenzie

Hi John Frewen-Lord:

And your ideas on tail/brake lights are bang-on as well. I have noticed that some European cars are delivered here with red turn signals - I'm pretty sure they are always amber in Europe. And the only problems with the high-intensity rear fog lights which sometime sneak across the ocean is that (a) most owners over here don't even know they have them, and (b) they don't know when to turn them on or, more importantly, turn them off!


OR my favourite the cars that only have the headlights come on automatically. So all these cars drive around at night with no taillights and no clue that their lights are not on.

Richard Clayton

I have been driving with the full lighting systems on at all times for over 40 years. Because I do this all the time, I never forget to turn them off. My Saab does this for the DRL's anyway. My other car has a chime warning if I should forget, or will turn them off itself if I should choose to ignore it (great idea GM). It does no harm, and may help.

Another beef as mentioned above - combined red stop/turn signal lights. These can give an erroneous left indication when the brakes are applied simultaneous to a right turn signal. The left light illuminates but not the right, followed by both. Just another thing we have to be vigilant of while driving. These things should be banned. Only amber and only separate lights. Has anyone else found the yellow bulb under clear cover signals on Honda's almost impossible to see in some lighting conditions? Then there are the 1% of drivers who actually signal opposite to their intentions...

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