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ian_uk1975

Original Poster:

977 posts

85 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
This has been irking me for a while... ~50% of drivers in oncoming cars I chance upon when driving home along windy (as in not straight) unlit country lanes at night are slow to dip their main beam, leaving me momentarily dazzled. The irksome thing is that it's obvious when an oncoming vehicle is approaching, since you can clearly see the light from their headlamps well in advance of seeing the actual vehicle. What I do (and what the other 50% of drivers do) is anticipate when an oncoming vehicle will come into view and dip my headlights just before the oncoming vehicle rounds the approaching bend. Why is this so difficult for some drivers to comprehend?! The worst offenders (thankfully, in the minority) don't dip their lights at all. Then there are those who use main beam when driving behind you. I'd better stop myself now before I start getting on my soap box re. front fogs (rear fogs are a lost cause!) and blue-tinted HID-alike bulbs.

clunkbox

160 posts

23 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
Quite often I don't bother using my main beam on a windy road if I'm happy with the visibility using dips, or I'll pre-emptively dip the before the corner so that if somebody does come from the opposite direction I'm not fumbling with the switch mid corner. I then pop the mains on after I'm round, some times just for long enough to assess the road in good light before taking them off again. Is that a bad practice?

Semi related, I was driving a Megane II the other and noticed that the main beams don't go till you have released the stalk. I blinded some poor bugger because I had went to switch them off but havered on releasing the stalk. Tying to demonstrate this to a colleague I managed to flick the switch hard enough to rotate the end bit and completely turn all the lights off. At 60. In the dark. Oops.


ian_uk1975

Original Poster:

977 posts

85 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
clunkbox said:
Quite often I don't bother using my main beam on a windy road if I'm happy with the visibility using dips
Yep, I also assess visibility and the need for main beam vs dips rather than just blindly switching main beam without thinking. I think this sort of behaviour echoes proper use of the rear fog light, too... many drivers will blindly switch their rear fog on when it's misty without properly assessing the conditions and actually thinking about it. I've probably only found a genuine need to use my rear fog light on a handful of occasions in the nearly 20 years I've been driving. Those folk who use their rear fog light when it's dark or when it start to rain are probably beyond help though!

LordGrover

21,830 posts

95 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
What compounds this issue is my inability to look away. My eyes are drawn to the bright lights making it much worse. irked
It takes a real effort to stop doing this.
It's because I'm stupid. silly

ian_uk1975

Original Poster:

977 posts

85 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
LordGrover said:
What compounds this issue is my inability to look away. My eyes are drawn to the bright lights making it much worse. irked
It takes a real effort to stop doing this.
It's because I'm stupid. silly
Funny you should mention that... I find myself doing exactly that! Deer in headlights syndrome!
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7db

5,947 posts

113 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
Couple of thoughts -- if the corner which reveals the oncomer is a right-hander for you, then you can leave your lights undipped for longer as you will illuminate the offside kerb for the oncomer, helpng him locate the curve and get round the corner. The curve prevents you from throwing your beam on him. The opposite it true for left-handers where you rake your beam across his eyes early.

As a second thought, you could consider leaving it a little later to dip, so that the oncomer sees you dipping and remembers that he's supposed to too. Perhaps even dip-flash as he hoves into view so that it's even more obvious that there's something crazy going on ahead (oh yes my lights are on too!). Might help. Of course it might not if they are brain-dead.

Final thought, you can rest your focus on the nearside carriageway edge marker just ahead of your vehicle. Your peripheral vision will take car of separation and lane position and when he's passed you won't be playing the old burnt retina game.

SK425

655 posts

32 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
clunkbox said:
I then pop the mains on after I'm round, some times just for long enough to assess the road in good light before taking them off again. Is that a bad practice?
The thing that would really be bad practice would be driving too fast to be able to stop in the distance you can see is clear - e.g. seeing the road is clear on main beam, then dipping the lights and driving on the assumption that what you saw was clear will remain clear. That's not what you meant is it?

I'm interested in your comment though. If main beam gives you more information to assess the road, wouldn't you generally want to keep main beam on to keep that information available and up to date?

As implied by the OP, your main beam is likely to make you much more obvious to an oncomer who is also on main beam, giving them a chance to dip before they dazzle you.

clunkbox

160 posts

23 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
SK425 said:
The thing that would really be bad practice would be driving too fast to be able to stop in the distance you can see is clear - e.g. seeing the road is clear on main beam, then dipping the lights and driving on the assumption that what you saw was clear will remain clear. That's not what you meant is it?
Yes and no. I'd use the main beam to better illuminate parts of the road I can see already using my dipped beam, and to make it easier to identify hazards such as debris / water / poor road surface. Back on dipped I would still be able identify any new hazards which appear, but the moment on main beam has allowed me to easily confirm what I can see using the dipped. I would also use the main beam to see a bit further into the distance and plan ahead, while keeping my stopping distance within the dipped beam.

7db said:
Stuff
Good points. If I know somebody is coming towards me I'll sometimes keep the main beam on long enough (or put them on for a sec) to make sure other people see me. I wouldn't necessarily take my beams off too early into the corner, but rather make taking them off a planned part of taking the corner (even if I don't have to) so it isn't something I have to do reactively half way through.

I've tried keeping my gaze away from oncoming lights before, and it worked quite well but I never managed to make it a habit.


SK425

655 posts

32 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
clunkbox said:
Yes and no. I'd use the main beam to better illuminate parts of the road I can see already using my dipped beam,
What about the parts of the road you can't see on dipped beam?

clunkbox said:
and to make it easier to identify hazards such as debris / water / poor road surface. Back on dipped I would still be able identify any new hazards which appear, but the moment on main beam has allowed me to easily confirm what I can see using the dipped. I would also use the main beam to see a bit further into the distance and plan ahead, while keeping my stopping distance within the dipped beam.
That's the interesting part. If main beam lets you see a bit further (generally I think it's quite a lot further, although perhaps not on a windy road) don't you want to keep main beam on so you can continue to see new information earlier and plan ahead?

clunkbox

160 posts

23 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
SK425 said:
What about the parts of the road you can't see on dipped beam?

That's the interesting part. If main beam lets you see a bit further (generally I think it's quite a lot further, although perhaps not on a windy road) don't you want to keep main beam on so you can continue to see new information earlier and plan ahead?
I'm working under the presumption that I'm happy with being able to see what I need to see using my dipped beam (as I'll be able to see less than that when somebody comes the other way anyway) and the extra detail provided by the main is just gravy. If I'm on a clear enough bit of road that I can't see the daylight limit of view using dipped, I'll have main beams on if nobody is coming. On a windy bit of road where dipped lights more or less provide a view of the daylight limit of view I'll use the main beams more sparingly so that I I'm not having to dip while hands are occupied with steering / gears. Or to put it another way, if I can't be sure I won't need to dip my beams by the time I exit the corner I'll dip them before the corner.

That said what I think I do and what I actually do aren't necessarily the same thing. I'm driving up for Fort Augustus tonight so I'll have a think about it while I'm doing it.

SK425

655 posts

32 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
clunkbox said:
On a windy bit of road where dipped lights more or less provide a view of the daylight limit of view I'll use the main beams more sparingly so that I I'm not having to dip while hands are occupied with steering / gears. Or to put it another way, if I can't be sure I won't need to dip my beams by the time I exit the corner I'll dip them before the corner.
I get what you mean.

clunkbox said:
That said what I think I do and what I actually do aren't necessarily the same thing.
I know what you mean there too smile.

Triumph Man

2,826 posts

51 months

[news] 
Thursday 13th September 2012 quote quote all
If this was in GG I would say do what I do in situations when someone is late to dip their lights like this and wait until the fronts of your cars are nearly level and put your main beams back on wink

As this is advanced driving, I do as has been mentioned above - i.e. pre-emptively dip before a corner (but put them back up if there is nothing coming the other way) so I'm not fumbling and potentially dazzling people mid corner. If somebody has there main beams on too long and I'm not being an arse I will give a courtesy flash.

Mr Grayson

158 posts

58 months

[news] 
Friday 14th September 2012 quote quote all
I'm slightly confused by clunkbox's "daylight limit of view" stuff, but I imagine you're referring to twilight conditions?

At all other times, main beam is the default unless it inconveniences someone else. That includes traffic oncoming and in front. Just sometimes, dipped is better, such as illuminating left handers better along the verge, but otherwise, use the all the available light. I've never understood people (no offence intended) who drive along on dipped beams having a little peep of main beam now and then. Either you need them or you don't, imho.

SK425

655 posts

32 months

[news] 
Friday 14th September 2012 quote quote all
Mr Grayson said:
I'm slightly confused by clunkbox's "daylight limit of view" stuff, but I imagine you're referring to twilight conditions?
I don't think so. I think by "daylight limit of view" clunkbox meant the extent to which you'd be able to see in normal daylight, i.e. we're on a sufficiently windy road that normal daylight would hardly give any more information than dipped beam at night (which probably implies high hedgrerows or walls as well as serious windiness).

That's what I took it to mean anyway.

BertBert

8,195 posts

94 months

[news] 
Monday 17th September 2012 quote quote all
I'd never thought about rationing my main beam. Now I've thought about it, I think it's a bit nuts. I haven't noticed any problem with dipping in time for other cars either.
BErt

clunkbox

160 posts

23 months

[news] 
Monday 17th September 2012 quote quote all
SK425 said:
I don't think so. I think by "daylight limit of view" clunkbox meant the extent to which you'd be able to see in normal daylight
Yep that's what I meant smile

clunkbox said:
That said what I think I do and what I actually do aren't necessarily the same thing. I'm driving up for Fort Augustus tonight so I'll have a think about it while I'm doing it.
I ended up leaving at 10pm to drive to F.A, mostly empty roads, aside from two marked cop cars! Followed one down through Glencoe, another followed me along the side of Loch Linnhe - not speeding - doing 50-60 along that road in the pissing rain in a crew cab pickup on chunky tyres more than quick enough! But back on subject since there was barely a soul on the road I barely dipped my lights, and since a ford ranger has awful dipped beams I was glad of it! I probably use my main beams more than I think, though!

simoid

12,510 posts

41 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th September 2012 quote quote all
If I see the light from full beams around a blind bend/the crest of a hill, I dip my beams, give a couple of full beam flashes, then put my full beams on until I can see the other car. Seems to work pretty well in terms of making sure the other car knows I'm coming, and is prepared to turn their full beams off smile
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