[ROVERNET - UK] LIGHTS and brains

Fletcher gofanu at usachoice.net
Tue Feb 6 22:34:43 GMT 2007

Not to cause a fight, but this needs some rethinking:

How much do you spend on insurance to pay for...
How much for repairs for...
How much for tires to avoid...
How much for brakes to avoid....
....the damage you do when you crash because you can't see?
How much for the accident you cause, even though you end up "not 
involved", because you are tense and driving badly?
How much for the sore neck progressing to disabling arthritis?
How much for the crash when the guy behind you hits you because you 
jammed on the brakes for no reason except you were surprised?
How much for my family you kill because you are on the wrong side of the 
damn road?
Did you ever hit a fallen tree, or even a single branch?
Did you ever hit a rock in a rockfall area?
Or a piece of something off a truck, like a tire tread or a 10 ton 
ingot, or 20 tons of rebar?
Did you ever hit a horse, cow, deer, bear, moose?
Do any of these sound like fun?

$150 or $200 or $500 worth of lights is cheaper than any of these, and a 
whole lot more useful.
Not seeing is the primary cause of accidents, regardless of what it is 
officially blamed on. In clear daylight, that's the driver's fault. In 
any other conditions, it's the driver's fault for not driving within his 
illumination range; this may be about 15 feet for an older car with 
crappy sealed beams in bad weather. Good lights fix this.
What are the "moral" or practical implications of these?
For that matter, how much for the cars you don't really need?

I have about a million miles under my belt, with good and bad lights, in 
all kinds of weather..
If you are using any standard light on anything other than late model 
high end cars, you can't see worth a damn.
If it's foggy or rainy, you can't see half a damn.
I lost a nice Rover 2000 to a deer that jumped out of the dark in front 
of me, with 4 brand new Cibie lights I had just bought in the back seat.
With the same lights (only installed!) in the same location, I saw the 
same herd of deer long before they got to the road.
With the same lights, and other similar ones, I have observed that deer 
see you coming well before you get there, and stay put, as opposed to 
getting spooked and jumping in front of you when your feeble candles pop 
around the bend within their "fright range"
With a pair of Cibie Bobies and a pair of Cibie 195 fogs, I have watched 
thousands of deer over a hundred miles of I80, and been vastly amused 
and considerably frightened when the driver in front of me started 
yelling on the CB "One deer by the road, mile marker 207". A dozen 
drivers answered, wanting to know exactly where the "One deer" was. I 
told them what the real situation was; that the "one deer" was only 
about 2 feet closer to the road than the rest of them, that there were 
several hundred deer visible at that location, and that there had been 
similar numbers for a hundred miles.  After a ten minute argument, one 
other driver out of a guesstimated couple of hundred in radio range came 
to my defense, nobody believed us. I pulled up beside the guy so he 
could see with my lights, then I put my high beams on, and he damn near 

I upgraded a customer's lights along the lines Daniel recommends (e-spec 
lamps and relays and wiring cleanup), and he complained that "it makes 
way too many deer along the road". Another one bitched that now he had 
to use his low beams in traffic, but at least it explained why his eye 
doctor had told him there was nothing wrong with his eyes when he had 
complained of poor night vision a week before.

It costs about $200 for me to straighten the light circuit wiring out 
and put in the relays, and you need this whether you upgrade the lamps 
or not. If you can do it yourself, it's like $50 and a few hours. The 
good lights will not work as expected if this is not done; the crappy 
lights also don't work as they should without these repairs. On a older 
typical car, the combination of good quality 55/60W H4 lamps and the 
wiring work can result in approximately an order of magnitude increase 
in useful illumination. There is no need for overwattage and illegal 
bulbs, and they will aggravate poor wiring. I've got the numbers.

Stay home at night if you are too cheap to buy good lights, we don't 
need to loose any more cars. It has absolutely nothing to do with how 
old the car is - it's still several thousand pounds of junk guided by a 
blind man when it hits me.  And do not try this "Moral" BS on this 
subject. It is irresponsible and stupid and immoral to drive with bad 
lights; and, it is equally so to have regulations which permit, 
encourage, and in some cases, require less than optimal lighting. End 
lecture, keep your good humor, and have a brighter ride tonight.


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