Inside Insurance: What happened to the lights?

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerJanuary 16, 2013 

As rainy weather passes through Georgia, it’s clear to me that more than just a few drivers seem to have forgotten about that state law that direct motorists to turn on their headlights when it rains.

There appear to be more and more drivers that have decided it is OK for everyone else but not for them. Light rain, drizzle or a downpour…no matter.

We have seen a considerable drought across much of the state in the past several months and that creates several problems. Not the least of which is an increase of fallen branches on the roads as well as the occasional tree that crashes down.

When it rains, safety issues compound. Let’s not forget how many people simply drive too closely to the vehicle in front. When a branch or a tree comes down, the lead driver may not see it, much less the parade of cars behind the lead vehicle.

It is worth noting that vehicle headlights are not only for driving at night, but for better vehicle control during bad weather.

Lights have their limitations, and driving conditions dictate what lights should be used during varying situations.

Let’s start with the (seemingly) most obvious. Parking lights are for parking, not driving. Yet how many vehicles travel on rainy roads in daylight with the parking lights on?

How many vehicles do we pass daily that indicate dusk is no big deal to the driver? These folks wait until someone flashes their headlights at them to flip on their lights.

There are nocturnal critters that start their search for food at dusk. Personally, I’m not into running over animals for lack of lights.

It is not just animals. Children don’t always exercise good judgment when it comes to chasing down balls or other items on the road.

This is a safety issue, not a suggestion.

As highway experts often say, road safety is about defensive driving. Today electronics and other distractions have made it even more difficult for motorists to keep their attention on the road.

There are many temptations, but only one action to provide the best security for the driver and passengers. Just keep your eyes on the road at all times.

David Colmans is executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service, an industry association of property and casualty insurance companies that do business in Georgia.

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