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Old 12-15-11, 07:00 PM   #1
trackhub
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Parking with the headlights on. (Way off topic)

I live in a large apartment complex. Over the past few years, I have noticed what seems to be some sort of new trend, if that is the right word. People park, sometimes for long periods of time, and leave the headlights on. It isn't just here at my complex. It would appear to be common practice everywhere else. Parking on the street, headlights on. Parking in a business center parking lot, headlights on. Heck, parking in Walgreen's parking lot, you betcha! Headlights on, while we make a few calls, and munch on some snacks that were just purchased.

Ok, I'm turning into an old grouch, and I know it. But when did this come about? Anytime I have done "live" (remaining in the car, with engine running) parking, I have always turned off the headlights, and left the parking lights on, for visibility. What memo did I miss? Let me take a wild guess: this started about the same time as people "Stalking" people in parking lots for a space near the door, right?

Okay, I am cranky and I am heading to bed. Good night!
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Old 12-15-11, 07:08 PM   #2
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It's the new alternators. They overcharge the battery and folks are running it down to the proper level.
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Old 12-15-11, 07:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
Ok, I'm turning into an old grouch,
It takes one to know one and yes you are.

If your car still has crank up windows you might not be aware of this but the headlights on lots of cars today automatically turn themselves off after a minute or two.
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Old 12-15-11, 08:22 PM   #4
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If it's dark, my headlights go on automatically. If it's dark and I sit with the engine on, the lights are on. If I am stopped at a signal under a shaded underpass, my lights go on. Maybe these people have the same set up?
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Old 12-15-11, 08:41 PM   #5
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It's not just cars. People are culturally trained to believe that everything should be over-lit at night. They believe "dark = bad" and "more light = more safe".

<soapbox>
As an amateur astronomer for the past 24+ years, I've become acutely aware of the endless growth of light pollution. Every square foot / meter of property is insanely over-lighted with harsh glaring light that actually obscures instead of illuminating (not to mention wasting a lot of money). Even in the most rural of places, dusk-to-dawn lights can be seen from horizon to horizon, "guarding" who knows what from whom knows what.
</soapbox>

OK - I'm all right now....
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Old 12-15-11, 09:38 PM   #6
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I just wish they'd DRIVE with the lights on.
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Old 12-15-11, 11:31 PM   #7
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It's the new alternators. They overcharge the battery and folks are running it down to the proper level.
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Old 12-16-11, 06:17 AM   #8
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People have been doing this every since lights got an auto setting. Lots of people never touch the light switch.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:03 AM   #9
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People have been doing this every since lights got an auto setting. Lots of people never touch the light switch.
I don't think I've ever changed my light switch from the auto setting
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Old 12-16-11, 09:08 AM   #10
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It's the new alternators. They overcharge the battery and folks are running it down to the proper level.
What are alternators did it replace the generator or something?


Yeah I leave mine on auto but they turn off as soon as I lock my doors...
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Old 12-16-11, 09:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lphilpot View Post
It's not just cars. People are culturally trained to believe that everything should be over-lit at night. They believe "dark = bad" and "more light = more safe".

<soapbox>
As an amateur astronomer for the past 24+ years, I've become acutely aware of the endless growth of light pollution. Every square foot / meter of property is insanely over-lighted with harsh glaring light that actually obscures instead of illuminating (not to mention wasting a lot of money). Even in the most rural of places, dusk-to-dawn lights can be seen from horizon to horizon, "guarding" who knows what from whom knows what.
</soapbox>

OK - I'm all right now....
Lots of places require that (or certenly should require) street light to be dark sky compliant. These are light that are supposed to not directly light the sky. How well they do this is another topic, but at least the thought is there.
I too would rather see stars in my back yard, than the soft orange glow of the Walmart parking lot.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:22 AM   #12
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I'm a life member of the International Dark Sky Association. http://www.darksky.org/
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Old 12-16-11, 09:34 AM   #13
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People showing off their automatic headlights....
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Old 12-16-11, 09:36 AM   #14
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Really OLD School

I'm of the minority who believes that the electric light has done us some harm as a culture. As a society, we need to go to bed earlier and get more rest. Electric lights have turned night into day, and have caused us to lengthen our daily activity (much of it useless, BTW).
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Old 12-16-11, 09:43 AM   #15
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I have auto-on headlights and daytime running lights on my car. As soon as I turn the key in the car, even if it's just to listen to the radio, the running lights come on. If it's dark, the full headlights come on.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:56 AM   #16
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What has already been said. Many modern vehicles are designed to turn the headlights on automatically as soon as you turn the key. Depending on vehicle brand and model some headlights will stay on as long as 3 to 5 minutes, after you turn the key off, as a safety/coutesy feature.
Canada has had a headlights-on law for years.
Ohio had a no headlights-on law for the Ohio Turnpike(maybe other interstates?) and used that as a revenue source for years to to rob Canadian drivers, that could not turn the vehicles lights off.
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Old 12-16-11, 11:00 AM   #17
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Just wish there was an auto-fog-light-off for idiots that think they are "driving lights". Fog lights are meant to shine on the side of the road so you can see where it is in ...........THE FOG...not as an accent light to "look cool" or blind oncoming traffic. Turn them off when approaching other vehicles like you would your high beams(yes dim those...for those of you that never do!!)
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Old 12-16-11, 11:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
If it's dark, my headlights go on automatically. If it's dark and I sit with the engine on, the lights are on. If I am stopped at a signal under a shaded underpass, my lights go on. Maybe these people have the same set up?
^ This. People with automatic headlights either can't or don't bother to control the lighting functions. My car can be outfitted with a lighting function, but even if it had it, there is still a way to turn it down to parking lights.

What really grinds my gears is when people park or stand with their cars along the left curb, facing the wrong direction. For some reason that seems to be far more distracting/blinding/harder to see around than people who park on the right side of the road.
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Old 12-16-11, 11:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I don't think I've ever changed my light switch from the auto setting
That's exactly where I leave the switch... on my bike.

The nicest thing about the dynamo hub and Schmidt Edelux headlight, is the ambient light sensor that switches the headlight and taillight on and off automagically.
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Old 12-16-11, 11:59 AM   #20
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You lot haven't lived. These are company cars and they don't cost anything---So what not leave the lights on--It's company electricity.
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Old 12-16-11, 12:03 PM   #21
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So that I don't make others mad I have changed my DRL (Daytime Running Lights), which are independant of the low beams, to use the yellow "3157" bulbs. Much easier on the eyes.
When I don't want the automagic lights on, like if I am sitting parked, I will use the switch to turn them off.

On the other side of the coin, in most newer cars when you turn on the high beams the low beams go off. Chevrolet, in my trucks at least, lifts the ground wire to the low beams to disable the power to the lights. If you hard wire the ground then when you turn on the high beams the lows stay on providing just enough additional light that you see the deer real good before you hit it.
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Old 12-16-11, 05:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I'm of the minority who believes that the electric light has done us some harm as a culture. As a society, we need to go to bed earlier and get more rest. Electric lights have turned night into day, and have caused us to lengthen our daily activity (much of it useless, BTW).
No headlights/Planet Bike Superflash tail lights for bikes, either?
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Old 12-16-11, 07:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
It takes one to know one and yes you are.

If your car still has crank up windows you might not be aware of this but the headlights on lots of cars today automatically turn themselves off after a minute or two.
I drive a Subaru. It has power windows, and daytime running lights. I believe daytime running lights are one of the smartest ideas ever implemented, but that is another matter. I frequently ride with my headlight on during the day.

What I am talking about are these characters who sit in the vehicle, parked, with the engine running and headlights on. For nighttime cyclists, it can be problematic. As you approach from the oncoming lane, you wonder if they are parked for the time being, or about to zoom out abruptly. In my apartment complex, and other like it, it can be a problem for folks living on the ground level, since the beams slam right into their windows. The real crackups, are the ones who sit in a store parking lot, Walgreen's for example, and sit there, engine running, headlights on, while drinking from a giant bottle of soda and talking on their phones.

Maybe I'm just allergic to the modern age, or something.
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Old 12-16-11, 07:33 PM   #24
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Lots of places require that (or certenly should require) street light to be dark sky compliant. These are light that are supposed to not directly light the sky. How well they do this is another topic, but at least the thought is there.
I too would rather see stars in my back yard, than the soft orange glow of the Walmart parking lot.
There are some (fortunately more, albeit slowly) places that have such requirements, but most do not. What most folks miss is that light shining up in the is actually money flowing off into the air. Light that doesn't light anything (useful) still uses electricity that's not nearly as cheap as it once was. It's generally far more effective to talk to light polluters about wasted money than dark skies. The latter all to often comes across to them as akin to tree hugging. I think most people aren't really aware of just how well most human eyes can see in the dark, if fully dark-adapted.

But I'm like you - Pink/orange isn't my favorite sky color. One of these days I oughtta join the IDA....
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Old 12-17-11, 07:48 AM   #25
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Lots of places require that (or certenly should require) street light to be dark sky compliant. These are light that are supposed to not directly light the sky. How well they do this is another topic, but at least the thought is there.
I too would rather see stars in my back yard, than the soft orange glow of the Walmart parking lot.
Dark Sky compliant lighting has been around for a while now, and not only does it leave the sky darker, it saves money too. Think about it this way, a globe light sends 50% of the light up, that means that for every $1 worth of power you use to operate the light, 50 cents is wasted. If the lighting unit uses an incandescent bulb, 70% of the power is wasted as heat, that means 70 cents worth of the power used is wasted as heat, and if 50% of the light goes up, your getting 35 cents worth of usable light for every dollar spent.

We have 3 outside lights on the house, two of those are on light sensitive motion detectors, so the light level needs to be below a certain point and there needs to be motion nearby, to turn the light on.

What I find frustrating is that Walmart is open from 9AM until 10PM, so why is the parking lot lit like the middle of the day at 3AM? Seems like a timer could be used, to turn most of those lights off at 11PM, after the last of the staff has left.....
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