As a kid my dad used to make me stand in the front leg space of our scooter. Until about 10 years of my age, I used to commute with my parents like that. I think those were the formative days of my life and my learning of driving or road sense also emerged from there.
Thanks to my dad, that I actually learned my driving etiquettes since my childhood and moreover, the correct rules and etiquettes. Otherwise if I would have been dependent on the so called driving schools then I would also be amongst those innumerable ignorant mortals who believe that it is mandatory to honk at every turn and imperative to use high beam in every instance.
The peril of high beam driving has taken significant proportions of late. There are innumerable instances when I feel pity for our next generation. The driving etiquettes that I got from my dad are hardly visible anywhere these days, obviously nothing is going to percolate down to the next generation. Standing in front of the scooter I used to see my dad ride that scooter with all the correct traffic rules. 25 years back there were hardly any roads with road dividers. The oncoming vehicles used to cut across you just right beside. Those were the days, if my dad used to find a vehicle coming from the opposite direction with high beam; he used to flash it with his own headlamps by switching between dipper and high beam 2-3 times. And voila! The oncoming vehicle used to switch his lights back to dipper. That was the case with cars, jeeps, Lorries, buses, any and every vehicle you name.
It clearly suggests that our previous generation knew the rules of driving better than us. Somehow those etiquettes never really came down to this generation of drivers. Now even if I flash it hundred times nobody cares. Some don’t care; some don’t know that the flashing means something and some of these people are so adamant that they don’t switch back to dipper purposefully (even if they know). It’s absolutely certain; we are living in a world full of self possessed egoistic people.
I can understand people using high beam on the highways, but in city driving where there is ample street light available, still high beams glare in front. Forget even city driving, inside the community township where you are not allowed to drive more than 20 km/hr, there also people drive down with full high beam and even fog lamps. I really don’t understand why!
Why do people use high beam?
When I casually enquired some of my friends and general public at large that why they prefer to use high beams, below were the responses I got.
- What is high beam?
- Can I switch it off as well?
- How can I drive without headlights?
- It tells people that I am coming, hence avoids accidents.
- I can’t see.
- I have a hi-tech car hence I make use of all the necessary gadgets that are provided to me alongwith that, be it high beam or fog lamps.
- Is it a crime?
- What if somebody jumps on the road all of a sudden?
- The other car coming from the front is using high beam, I get blinded.
- Who cares
- Mind your own business
Well, what else can you expect from these kind of people? They all are inglorious fools. Just for the sake of clarification, I will try to comment on the above responses. Hopefully the respondents read this and change their attitude towards driving.
What is a high beam? It is a part of your head lamp which gets activated with a lever near your steering wheel. It results in making the light rays from the headlamp fall absolutely straight ahead instead-off on the road. So, although it helps you see to a long distance compared to your dipper or normal headlamps, but unfortunately it is too irritating for the oncoming people unless it is absolutely dead necessary for you.
Can I switch it off? Sure you can, with a minor twitch in your lever beside the steering wheel, high beam can be switched off. Switching off high beam doesn't switch off headlights, you can still see the road clearly with your normal headlamps.
How can I drive without headlights? You still have headlight, don’t worry.
It tells people that I am coming, hence avoids accidents. It doesn't tell people anything, it simply irritates them. Please avoid using high beams. To avoid the so called accidents you have brakes in your car, please use them as and when required.
I can’t see. Well... get your eye sight checked. If in normal street lights you are not able to see the road and you need high beam for that, you better not sit behind the steering wheel, it’s not only dangerous for you but for others as well.
I have a hi-tech car hence I make use of all the necessary gadgets that are provided to me alongwith that, be it high beam or fog lamps. Every gadget has its own use and there are specific conditions for which the car manufacturer has provided that to you. Just because you have Airbags doesn't mean you drive rash, isn't it.
Is it a crime? Legally - NO Morally - YES (have some empathy)
What if somebody jumps on the road all of a sudden? Under city night lighting condition if such an incident happens you have your brakes to use. And if you say that I was driving so fast how can I stop all of a sudden, well, the point is that in city night driving you shouldn't be speeding at all. You can speed in highways and nobody is stopping you from using high beams on highways.
The other car coming from the front is using high beam, I get blinded. YES! It’s a catch 22 situation. The oncoming vehicle is using high beam so am I, c’mon grow up now. You are not kids anymore. Charity starts from home. Isn't it? Let’s take a call, make a pledge that we won’t be driving in high beam even if the oncoming vehicle does. In such a case when you get blinded, just slow down and flash your lights and indicate him to use a dipper. He may or may not dip, but we have to do it. “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”.
Who cares? Mind your own business? You can’t make them change. So just change yourself, and make them the odd one out in this world, they will be forced to change themselves.
So my dear brethren, let’s take a pledge that we won’t be using high beam under normal city street lighting condition. And even if we do, we will be compassionate enough to switch back to dipper immediately when we see an oncoming vehicle / human being. Let’s have some empathy and make India a better driving place.