We’re having a rainy February here in Sydney. Not just rain in some cases but a heavy, pelting deluge. I was driving through one of these yesterday and visibility was shocking. Even more shocking was the number of cars without their headlights on.
When you look at the number of cars on the road here it seems almost 50% of them are conservative colours in the monochromatic scale: black, dark grey, grey and silver. Colours that blend in a little too well with the road at times. Those times include rain.
I was trying to make a right-hand turn and didn’t see the guy in the silver car on my left until he was almost in front of me. Thankfully there was nothing coming on my right and my brakes are good even in the wet. The silver car didn’t have headlights on and in the almost tropical downpour was virtually invisible.
In 1995 I visited Canada and it was mandatory even then to drive with one’s headlights on day or night. In rainy Vancouver it made a lot of sense. On sunny days driving east as far as Calgary on country roads, cars coming in the opposite direction were easy to see; on dull and rainy days the oncoming traffic really stood out. This is a lesson I brought back with me and habitually drive with lights on when I’m on country roads, sunny or cloudy. I also put my headlights on around Sydney on rainy days.
This is my request to all drivers: if it’s raining, put your lights on. If you’re worried about burning a tiny bit more fuel as a result, think of this: it might save your life or someone else’s.
(Oh, and if you’re driving in the kerbside lane in a heavy downpour, have a care for people scurrying along the footpath and try not to send a fountain of water over them. Saw that yesterday too.)