Driving Like Dummies 7 – DIM THOSE DAMN LIGHTS!!!

During times of the course of the day, the Earth’s rotation takes it to the other side of the sun plunging it and everything on it into darkness. Bereft of natural light, we miserable humans need artificial luminescence to see what lies ahead of us while we make our way forward through that deep, dark darkness. As opposed to humans, vehicles have fortunately built-in mechanisms to provide light for the human-user to see in the darkness. These devices are called headlights and are mounted on the front of vehicles and provide illumination of the way ahead through methods ranging from metal-heating to gas-excitement using bulbs, filaments, reflectors and so on. But as it is with any other vehicle-related feature in India, this is also used only secondarily for its purpose of illumination and primarily to show how awesome we are and for showcasing our greatness and masculinity by absolutely refusing to acknowledge any one else’s right to use the road or even giving them any consideration as human beings.

It happens all the time. Cars come against you with their bright lights at full blast, the intense white light blinding you, its piercing intensity slamming through your eyes and into the back of your skull. You become disoriented, blinded and see spots floating around your eyes, as if you had just witnessed a Supernova explosion. Worse, you cannot see what is ahead of you, like the oncoming vehicle or anything on the sides of the road. All you see is blinding arcs of pure light. Even though every vehicle produced the World over has at least two modes of headlight brightness, many people behave as if this does not exist or as if it would be demeaning for them to use it! The scourge of mindless empty-headed morons driving with their lights at full bright beam inconsiderate of oncoming traffic (even while driving in well-lit city limits) is without doubt the champion among champions when it comes to irritations faced on Indian roads. Everything else can be pardoned, but not this. Hell no!

There is simply no excuse for people driving with their high beams on. As opposed to the other factors that cause the mess on our roads due to refusal to follow rules to suit one’s convenience, here all that is required is a wee bit of common sense. It is not as if there are a slew of complicated rules and laws to be followed for using headlights in traffic. This is same as someone catching hold on you while walking down a street and shining a couple of searchlights into your eyes. Having proved themselves unfit to live in a society populated by other Homosapiens, these “highbeamer people” should be ostracized from society and sent to live in a cave somewhere on a South Pacific Island for the rest of their lives. Sure, there are rules that state High Beams should not be used unless absolutely necessary, but hey, who cares? “My car, my money, I will drive as I want  and I don’t care two hoots if you or anyone else cannot bloody see what is in front of you!” Or, “HEY ALL YOU IMBECILE SHEEP! CAST YOUR EYES AND FEAST UPON THE EVERLASTING GLORY OF MY NEW ALL-CONQUERING PATHETIC HATCH WITH ITS SPACE-TIME-WARPING POWER INDUING HEADLIGHTS!!” And then proceed to go about town clueless in his/her moronic hatchback making anyone unfortunate enough to land in their path feel like they have witnessed a Supernova explosion.

Dangers of Driving with Bright Lights on

Driving with bright lights on is not just irritating but dangerous too. The driver coming opposite you will be blinded and will not be able to gauge or judge distances. They will also be not able to see what is ahead of them or on the sides of the road until it is too late. There are innumerable accidents happening every day caused by dazzled drivers crashing into trees, poles, walls etc on the roadside or even hitting people or other vehicles, sometimes the very one with the bright lights on. Imagine a driver being unable to see a curve on the road ahead because all he could see is light ahead of him? These bright-light people should be charged for manslaughter!

The Dummy’s Guide to Dimming Lights and other Car-Light Usage

From my experience, there are people who simply don’t know or understand the concept of “Dim” and “Bright” or even that there are different light-intensity settings for vehicle headlights and they are to be used as per appropriate situation. No wonder this, given that people in our country believe that they have reached the highest point in the racist-caste system on acquisition of a car, and nothing else matters, just like all the other rules of the road. In fact, I have met people who honestly DO NOT KNOW that there are a couple of different settings for car headlights! So, here are some general rules to be followed while driving cars in the night.

  • Every car or any vehicle on the road, no matter if it has a single headlight (two-wheelers), two headlights, four, six or more, including the number of bulbs that are housed in composite units, has two modes of brilliance – Low Beam (“Dim”) and High Beam (“Bright”) which can be adjusted by the driver by flicking levers back and forth.
  • “Low Beam” illuminates the way ahead by scattered and not focused light, points “lower” in front and is lesser in intensity, all that is required while driving on well-lit roads.
  • High Beam is the opposite of Low Beam. Intense, focused, pointed straight ahead and into the very eyes of whichever living being comes against it. Meant only be used only when necessary, like when driving on highways and such badly lit roads.
  • Bright lights can be activated by pushing/pulling one of the levers located on either side of the steering wheel, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Said levers are called “stalks”. Refer your car’s user manual for more details.
  • Within city/town/village limits, drive only with your Low-Beams on.
  • If you insist on driving with your high-beams on, please “Dim” (switch off high beams) your lights when you see vehicles coming opposite you!
  • Whenever you switch on the high beam, the symbol shown below will light up on your car’s dashboard instrument cluster. In Western countries this sign is equivalent to a sexy female voice telling you: “You are now driving along a deserted, pitch-dark highway.

Sure, most of our roads are undriveable and badly lit. But what prevents people from dimming their lights when a car comes against them? “Let him dim his lights first, then I will”? We all know. We are just too awesome and high-up in the food chain that we just cannot submit to others. Meekness and rules are for weaklings and poor people. Even flashing your lights at them will not deter them. They require their high beams even while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic! For what? To count the number of scratches in the vehicle in front? And I have nothing to say about those dumb, stupid elevator-farts who actually are unaware how things work and believe all that requires to drive a car is “Chalana hai to ‘Asselelater’ dabao, rukna hai to Brake maaro!” And I have noticed it for a fact that first-time drivers are the biggest culprits. Just look around you. The Altos, i10s, Swifts, Indicas, Wagon Rs and such pathetic excuses for cars are more likely to have high beams on than Innovas, Ventos, Citys and the like. Yeah, trucks drivers and cabbies do not mostly dim their lights either. But most of them are uneducated, illiterate souls who spend months together on the road in oppressive conditions. What is your excuse?

Rot in hell. No, I sincerely wish it. May all the most horrible plagues on Earth and in the Universe befall you if you insist on driving around all the time with your lights on full high beam. As simple as that. And I mean it.

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Ragesh Chakkadath

Bull’s eye!! I always wanted so say this. I usually drive on dimmed lights. Some people who come opposite seems to dim the lights when we “ask” them by toggling once between bright and dim. But like you said, some people simply don’t care.

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