Glaring errors that risk tragedy on our roads

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From: Mr SB Oliver, Churchill Grove, Heckmondwike.

THE long dark nights have again brought out the subject of motorists driving on just sidelights or with broken headlights. Peter Hyde (Yorkshire Post, January 3) reported the frequent sight of these on a journey of 50 miles.

Last week, I was at a T-junction waiting to turn right onto the main road. It was almost dark and I saw a gap in the headlights approaching from the right. A few seconds later, I realised that the “gap” was, in fact, a large skip-wagon rumbling along on just sidelights. This dangerous situation should be eradicated by making dipped headlights compulsory when driving in lighting-up times.

In his letter (August 14), Michael Day referred to other countries that have now made it compulsory.

I would go so far as to say that certain classes of vehicles should drive on headlights at all times: motorcycles, buses, coaches and HGVs.

I wrote about this last January and D Howram (January 10) tried to explain that “the very nature of a light bulb filament is such that component failure can easily occur”. Not if the car is properly maintained. In the last 30 to 35 years of driving, I have only replaced two rear twin-filament bulbs across 11 cars.

Driving on sidelights will not illuminate the roadside reflective hardware (signs, bollards and so on) or the reflectors on parked vehicles.

Neither will sidelights light up the reflective fabric on clothing and footwear worn by pedestrians and joggers. On winding suburban roads, headlights warn other road users of your approach.

This “surprise surprise” 
attitude by drivers in the dark is not considerate, not good practice and is hazardous for others.