Is it time to mandate daytime-running taillights?
By David Menzies for MSN Autos
As a cold and warm front collided the other day north of Toronto, the end-result was a driver’s worst nightmare: thick fog. And on the highway, visibility was the first casualty.
As I cruised along, I adjusted my speed to according to the ghastly conditions, going several clicks below the limit. And naturally, I put my full headlight system on even though it was still daytime.
How I wish everyone else on the road had done likewise.
For as the ol’ Ford Adrenaline cut through the fog at a steady 80 klicks, just in the nick of time I happened to notice that I was virtually riding the bumper of a grey Toyota Corolla. I surely experienced the same sort of feeling the guy on the poop deck of the Titanic had upon spotting that pyramid-shaped chunk of ice occupying the shipping lane.
But unlike the ill-fated ocean-liner, a collision was adroitly avoided with a quick lane change. While I would’ve been at fault if a chrome-connection had occurred, I was nevertheless left steaming at Corolla Guy. The reason: his rear lights weren’t illuminated. And if those red taillights had been lit, I would’ve been alerted to his presence several precious metres earlier. After all, the Corolla’s grey paint-job meshed with the fog’s greyness almost perfectly. The Toyota couldn’t have been more invisible had the car been equipped with a Romulan Cloaking Device.
I’ve noticed the same sort of inattention to details during rainy days, too. When there’s a steady downpour, the full headlight system should be engaged. Yet, I reckon at least half of all drivers fail to engage those lights.
Thus, the question arises: is it time to make daytime-running taillights mandatory? I say yes. Daytime-running headlights have long been mandatory in this country, and this safety measure has dramatically increased visibility when it comes to picking out vehicles on the opposite side of the road. And while I’d like to think that all licensed drivers out there have the presence of mind to engage their full headlight system during dreadful daytime driving conditions, time and time again such is not the case.
Bottom line, if drivers don’t have the presence of mind to do the right thing when greyness takes lease, perhaps it’s time to have the car’s onboard computer do the thinking for them.