Turning on

We’re putting Daylight Saving Time to bed this weekend. This annual ritual serves as a great time to remind all of us TRDATMs of the headlights law. Regular readers might recognize the TRDATM acronym I use to refer to people who act as if they believe “The Rules Don’t Apply To Me.”

At this time of year, the light of day declines quickly as late afternoon slides into evening. Darkness arrives swiftly. This inevitable reality escapes the notice of a group of motorists — those who refuse to turn their headlights on, which, naturally, renders their vehicles more difficult for other drivers to see. Some drive headlightless well into night, when it’s REALLY dark. Terrifying.

What are these drivers thinking? Are they thinking at all? One friend suggests that such drivers reason that if they can see other vehicles, there’s no problem. Well, yes, here’s the problem. In addition to driving dangerously, they could be breaking the law.

The law varies slightly among states, but for us and other drivers to be safe, our headlights should be on 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after dawn.

Headlights also are required in the rain, a fact that has escaped the notice of far too many of us drivers. If we need to turn our wipers on, we need our headlights, too.  That’s the law, and it makes sense. When the weather turns bad, we and our vehicles are harder for others to see.

And that’s the point, really. These rules and laws are more about keeping others safe than they are about us.

But they do apply to us. All of us.

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