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Old 09-15-05, 02:17 PM   #1
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Wipers on, LIGHTS ON!

I didn't seen any threads dedicated to this, so I decided to start one.

New Jersey has a state law requiring motorists to turn their headlights on whenever their windshield wipers are on. Over the past two days, we've had some pretty heavy rain, but I'd venture to guess that at least a quarter of drivers that I've seen on the road have been driving with their headlights off. How can they see what's going on around them, and how can they been seen by others? This especially applies to silver vehicles.

Does anyone else have this problem where they live?
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Old 09-15-05, 02:23 PM   #2
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Oddly, silver vehicles have consistently been shown to have the lowest number of accidents whenever they compare colours in insurance studies.

I don't get it either. They don't seem to stand out very well to me. Maybe some subconscious "metal=hazard" reflex. I know what colour my next helmet will be though...
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Old 09-15-05, 02:25 PM   #3
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My bike doesn't have any wipers.
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Old 09-15-05, 02:29 PM   #4
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We have that problem, but I have no idea what to do about it. I mean, the law's already on the books. Of course, I don't know of anyone being cited for that particular offense, either.

My wife's car has automatic headlights that come on when ambient light lowers to a certain point. It's sweet! People usually think they're great drivers anyway. Maybe they just think it's unnecessary even though it's a legal requirement....
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Old 09-15-05, 03:08 PM   #5
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I dont really have a problem where i live, but I can tell you i have come home from vacation during horrid downpours and having your lights blinking at least makes a huge difference, considering you cant see anything any way. But I think that that rule is slight bogus.
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Old 09-15-05, 03:20 PM   #6
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That's the law now in California too, if the wipers are on, the lights have to be on too.
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Old 09-15-05, 03:20 PM   #7
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I always drive with my lights on, even during the day. IMO it makes the car much more visible. Check it out sometime, there are probably folks in your town doing it too and you'll see the lighted cars more easily even at noontime. Again, just my opinion. Though I don't do this on my bike and I really should.
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Old 09-15-05, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
Oddly, silver vehicles have consistently been shown to have the lowest number of accidents whenever they compare colours in insurance studies.

I don't get it either. They don't seem to stand out very well to me. Maybe some subconscious "metal=hazard" reflex. I know what colour my next helmet will be though...
James Dean supposedly drove a silver vehicle. That was a long time ago.
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Old 09-15-05, 10:50 PM   #9
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From the title I thought this thread would be about riding bikes in the rain.

I try to ride with lights whenever I'm out in the rain. The exception would be if I'm caught by an unexpected shower on a bike without lights. I would say riding in a heavy rain is comparable to nighttime in terms of your visibility to others without lights.
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Old 09-15-05, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
I always drive with my lights on, even during the day. IMO it makes the car much more visible.
I do the same and agree fully. I start the car then the lights go on.

It also helps me not forget to turn off my lights. I just know every time I get out of the car, they have to be turned off.
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Old 09-16-05, 05:43 AM   #11
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Here in Latvia we have to have headlights on day and night. There were some hot discussions some 5-6 years ago when the law was introduced, but now everyone seems to agree that this is very cool.
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Old 09-16-05, 05:57 AM   #12
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Perhaps people who choose silver cars are, statistically, so conservative that they drive more carefully.

I heard that insurance costs more for red cars. Would this be consistent?
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Old 09-16-05, 06:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
I always drive with my lights on, even during the day..... Though I don't do this on my bike and I really should.
I'll turn on my flashing red tail back light on my bike if riding in the early morning or on roads with mixed sun and shade.....everything except clear unobstructed view.
Eases my mind, knowing that I should be seen by anyone approaching from the back. Have thought about adding light to the front also, haven't gone that far yet. I stay away from evening commuting, nit comfortable with that where I live.
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Old 09-16-05, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
I always drive with my lights on, even during the day. IMO it makes the car much more visible.
Automatic/manual lights on for safety is a urban/rural-open road divide.

Lights on for urban traffic and for intersections does have an X improvement in traffic safety. I don't know of any studies that have measured the degree of X factor, but is it generally assumed to be higher than 5%. Rarely a negative factor.

Lights on for rural-open road has a positive AND a negative factors which both make lights on safer and lights on much unsafer. Think of 2 lane or 4 lane roads with no dividing separator and outside city limits where normal traveling speeds are 50 to 90 mph. [actual speeds being driven, not speed limits. ]

Positive factors of lights on
++ can see something is in other lane
++ can see thing in other lane is coming your way

Negative factors of lights on
- - many daytime lights are too bright, esp. saturn's. over 10% of drivers are glare sensitive and thus will look away from oncoming vehicle. Not a safe response to have someone coming at you and not looking at you.

- - lights on makes it harder for humans to judge distances accurately and drivers are more likely to misjudge both distance gap and closing speeds. Not good if you are trying to pass by switching in other lane, or driver passing in your lane from other direction thinks you are closing gap much slower than you really are. This problem with humans judging closing speed and distance accurately was used during WWII by having some planes turning ON their lights so enemy would not be as effective in locating the incoming plane.
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Old 09-16-05, 12:53 PM   #15
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Will drivers be conditioned to think that a space with no lights in it is clear for them to drive?
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Old 09-16-05, 01:09 PM   #16
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I think cars without lights on in darker or poor visiblity situations are far more of a hazard to cyclist than other vehicles. The reaons I that we cyclist need to see vehicles coming from a futher distance when preparing for left merges, etc. If you are car merging left you are already going about the same speed, on a bike the differential can be 40mph which means to you have to see cars coming from much futher away.

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Old 09-16-05, 02:02 PM   #17
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Agreed, the main hazard of lights on, is daytime good visibility situations at moderate to high speeds on undivided roads.
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Old 09-16-05, 02:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Automatic/manual lights on for safety is a urban/rural-open road divide.

Lights on for urban traffic and for intersections does have an X improvement in traffic safety. I don't know of any studies that have measured the degree of X factor, but is it generally assumed to be higher than 5%. Rarely a negative factor.

Lights on for rural-open road has a positive AND a negative factors which both make lights on safer and lights on much unsafer. Think of 2 lane or 4 lane roads with no dividing separator and outside city limits where normal traveling speeds are 50 to 90 mph. [actual speeds being driven, not speed limits. ]

Positive factors of lights on
++ can see something is in other lane
++ can see thing in other lane is coming your way

Negative factors of lights on
- - many daytime lights are too bright, esp. saturn's. over 10% of drivers are glare sensitive and thus will look away from oncoming vehicle. Not a safe response to have someone coming at you and not looking at you.

- - lights on makes it harder for humans to judge distances accurately and drivers are more likely to misjudge both distance gap and closing speeds. Not good if you are trying to pass by switching in other lane, or driver passing in your lane from other direction thinks you are closing gap much slower than you really are. This problem with humans judging closing speed and distance accurately was used during WWII by having some planes turning ON their lights so enemy would not be as effective in locating the incoming plane.
Very interesting, sincerely, I never thought of the negative issues over long distances at high closing speeds. Would love to see more studies on this.

On the original topic I still find it so annoying when it is seriously overcast, or nearly dawn or dusk and folks use only their running lights as if they are too cool for school.
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Old 09-16-05, 02:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
Very interesting, sincerely, I never thought of the negative issues over long distances at high closing speeds. Would love to see more studies on this.
Most safety people don't. I'm in the 10% that's glare sensitive and have done much driving on open roads. It's extremely annoying to be behind someone loitering at 50 and trying to guage if there's enough space to pass safely or not. Bright lights and bright daytime running lights [ saturn ] merge into one light which makes distance guaging more difficult.


Quote:
On the original topic I still find it so annoying when it is seriously overcast, or nearly dawn or dusk and folks use only their running lights as if they are too cool for school.
And bikers who think they don't need a light and can wear black clothing and just assume everyone will know that black spot is a human. I've seem more cycling offenders than motoring offenders. Strangely enough, it's rare to see a motorcycle offender. They take so many risks, I guess this is just one they elect not to take.
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Old 09-16-05, 06:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Most safety people don't. I'm in the 10% that's glare sensitive and have done much driving on open roads. It's extremely annoying to be behind someone loitering at 50 and trying to guage if there's enough space to pass safely or not. Bright lights and bright daytime running lights [ saturn ] merge into one light which makes distance guaging more difficult.




And bikers who think they don't need a light and can wear black clothing and just assume everyone will know that black spot is a human. I've seem more cycling offenders than motoring offenders. Strangely enough, it's rare to see a motorcycle offender. They take so many risks, I guess this is just one they elect not to take.
I'm a bit glare sensitive, but I think my main problem is my ratty windshield(lots of Autobahn miles on it).

If I ride my MC at night, I wear a reflective vest over my jacket(non-reflective leather). Hopefully, I'm reinforcing the fact that there's a person on the MC since the headlight(s) and taillight are most visible at night/low light.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
On the original topic I still find it so annoying when it is seriously overcast, or nearly dawn or dusk and folks use only their running lights as if they are too cool for school.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'd like to box their ears, especially when they have no lights turned on at all.
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Old 09-17-05, 05:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
On the original topic I still find it so annoying when it is seriously overcast, or nearly dawn or dusk and folks use only their running lights as if they are too cool for school.
At least in CA, and probably many other states, this is illegal. I suspect that most drivers don't know this though. One of those seldom-enforced rules -- like tinted front windows.
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Old 01-30-06, 07:09 AM   #22
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Does anyone live in a state where it's illegal to drive in heavy fog with their lights off? NOAA says that the current visibility here is 0.15 miles, and yet, I saw at least 2 or 3 people driving with their lights off during my 10 minute commute this morning.
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Old 01-30-06, 09:55 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
I heard that insurance costs more for red cars. Would this be consistent?
[Actuary Hat]You heard wrong.[/Actuary Hat]

On topic: it seems that with the electronics setups in cars today it would be easy to set it such that when the wipers come on, lights come on low-beam.
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Old 01-30-06, 12:15 PM   #24
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When the parking brakes are released on my truck, either the daytime running lights come on, or if it's dark outside, the regular lights come on. I think it'll be just a matter of time before car manufacturers produce cars in which the lights come on when the wipers are turned on.

I can understand the reasoning behind having the lights turned on, but when drivers are being just plain careless, all the safety features and driving habits go out the window. I was waiting in line at the gas station in the rain when a Honda Civic (a silver one, btw) did some weird maneuver and nearly hit me. The driver of the car and I ended up at the same pump (he on the other side) so he sheepishly came over and apologized, saying he didn't see me. I drive a half-ton extended cab pick-up with a 4" lift and had my lights on. How he didn't see me is beyond me.
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Old 01-30-06, 06:33 PM   #25
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Yep there are lots of drivers without their lights on in the rain or heavy dusk/night. It's quite a problem considering it's raining on the freeway and the only thing you can see in front of you are the rear running lights of the car in front. The cars without lights on are nearly invisible.
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