Was driving home from Windsor yesterday (Friday).
About half an hour west of London on the 401, I ran into the Mother, Father, Sister and Brother of thunderstorms.
I could see the cell as I approached - a massive, ominous, black, angry-looking cloud formation obscuring what was otherwise a nice, sunny sky.
The first clue I had that it was going to be bad took the shape of a few motorcyclists parked under a couple of successive bridges, donning their rain gear. They must either have had built-in weather radar, or CB radios.
Ever driven right into a rainstorm? Where it's dry on one side of the street and raining on the other?
There were a few big SPLATS of raindrops, then almost immediately, the worst rain I think I have ever driven in. The animals were walking two-by-two.
To everyone's credit, we all slowed down, crawling along at maybe 40 km/h. I'd venture to say maybe a quarter of the cars pulled off on the shoulder to wait it out.
I've often questioned the wisdom of this strategy; I know of at least one case where a car sitting on the shoulder was rear-ended with tragic results because the following car saw taillights and assumed that that car was driving in the correct lane.
Maybe if you can pull far enough off the road, or take a handy exit, you'd be OK. But I figured my best chance was to continue to go with the flow of traffic. Then if I did get hit by someone, at least I'd be moving and the closing speed wouldn't be as great.
Many of the cars around me also had their four-way flashers on, which obviously was the right thing to do.
Do you feel a 'but' coming on?
BUT - what was up with the people who didn't have their headlights on?
I mean, folks, come on...
Every second car has their four-ways on; you obviously can't see a car ahead of you if it's more than three car lengths away.
And you don't think to switch your headlights on?
Don't you think maybe the cars following you are having the same problem seeing YOUR car as you are seeing the car ahead of you?
As noted here previously, in some jurisdictions - New York State being one of them - the law says you must have your headlights on if your wipers are on.
Except of course, New York State doesn't have a Daytime Running Lights law.
And as much as I supported DRL when it was introduced, I'm now realizing it does more harm than good.
I remember specifically one white Buick Rendezvous, going really slowly - dangerously slowly, even for the conditions. I was too busy to catch the licence plate. I honked as I inched past him, and flicked my lights off and on.
And here's where the Daytime Running Lights issue came in: GM cars, like all too many cars, only turn on reduced-intensity high beams, but no taillights, because that is all that is mandatory according to Transport Canada.
But they also turn on the dash lights, so drivers think they do have lights on, and don't know they are essentially invisible to cars approaching from behind.
People, people. people - read your Owners' Manual. Or walk around your car in your driveway when the lights are not on; find out what your car's DRL does.
Or, better still, don't bother - just turn your headlights, on all the time.
Why take unnecessary chances?
The rain stopped almost as quickly as it had started, as the thunderstorm moved off to the south-east.
And seconds later, the white Rendezvous went rocketing past my red Porsche Cayman S like I was nailed to the pavement, completely oblivious to the danger he had been in, and had exposed others to.