Some of you will need to sit down. Others will wish they had skipped this post…who needs to be told the obvious, right? But whether your shocked or not, I’ll own up to being a bit of a nerd. It is true. It started with an early childhood promotion to school crosswalk patrol (I was only in the fourth grade) and part of that “Safety First” approach to helping people has not left me since.
In addition to being kind of a nerdy — even using “nerd” is nerdy, isn’t it? Unless you’re fabulously hot and secretly wear garters and fishnets, of course — my beloved 1998 Ford Explorer hit 250,000 miles this week! Yes, I am proud of my school safety achievement and I am not ashamed of driving a Ford Explorer. I have kept that thing out a scrap yard many times and that is my way of being green. I am constantly recycling it. How many of you can say you recycle a ton of steel and toxic parts every year?
So in honor of my achievements, I thought I would share a secret pleasure with you. It is something you can do alone or with others, even the with the kids, and it has a safety theme to it.
It has to do with headlights (or headlamps, if you prefer). I drive with my headlights on all the time for safety….of course. And when it is hard to see other cars — like after sunset, for example, or during a heavy snow — I will flash a car driving without its headlights on, especially if they are hard to see. I think of it as a courtesy. I am letting them know that they are hard to see. Maybe I’m just reminding another conscientious driver that his or her lights are not on. It is a reasonable thing to do.
But more and more often I flash cars driving without headlights simple for the entertainment it offers. You will be surprised at how offended people seem to be with a quick headlight flash. People scowl, scream, and even mouth “F**k you” while flipping the bird! And THAT…is funny.
It is also a great way to stay awake. Watching for careless and inconderate drivers to taunt while saving their ungrateful skin is an effective way to stay alert.
Here are some tips. Flash with enough time for you to see the driver react. Also I find it more effective to turn my lights off for a second then back on. It sends a clearer signal to other drivers to check lights. Don’t make the mistake of turning up your high beams. That’s the wrong complaint and you’ll just look silly.
Another tip, and I know this will sound absolutely racist to some people, but I live by the credo that pointing out something true about a race isn’t racist, kind of like saying caucasians have light skin isn’t regarded by most people as a racist statement. So here’s my non-racist warning: Don’t do this to any Asian driving 10 miles an hour below the speed limit. They are having enough trouble already. You’ll just freak them out.
Plus when I lived in Arizona an urban legend existed that gangs drove around without headlamps on waiting for someone to flash them. When they got the headlight flash that person was marked for a beating or worse. So I don’t flash vehicles that look like they might be driven by dangerous outlaws. And what is the fun in seeing an already bitter person get all riled up? You want to see someone who looks like your grandma or doctor melt down!
So other than slow-driving Asians and dangerous outlaws, flash away and have fun! You might even save a life. Keep your headlights on. Be seen. Be safe.
- Few Tips for Safety Driving (athingforcars.com)
- Letters: Headlights should be under law’s high beams (knoxnews.com)