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Certain things like this
March 28, 2001 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Certain things like this irk me just as much as the next guy, but it always makes me wonder how it can bother someone so much to create an organization against it.
posted by JFunk2800 (27 comments total)

 
Seems a bit ridiculous to me. If they don't like daytime running lights, then they must really hate headlight modulators on motorcycles.
posted by a3matrix at 3:22 PM on March 28, 2001


"Safety should never be annoying".

Excuse me? Safety is almost ALWAYS annoying. Do they think seatbelts are FUN?

However, I do have some small sympathy. DRL don't bother me, but extra-double-super-bright right-in-your-rearview headlights do bother me. Even though I do fall into the bright-headlighters category now myself.
posted by daver at 3:33 PM on March 28, 2001


And isn't the basic premise of their argument wrong?

I thought Daytime Running Lights actually saved hundreds of lives every year.

If they're annoying, well, sorry, but better that the driver be aware of everything on the road and not take some stupid risk than not see someone and run them off the road, or hit a pedestrian or cyclist who didn't see them coming.

I thought that was the purpose behind DRLs in the first place.
posted by chicobangs at 3:33 PM on March 28, 2001


When I first got my VW Golf, it seemed weird to have the "DRLs" as the site calls them, but I think they are a good idea on mountain roads etc.

When I lived in Santa Cruz. CA and had to drive Highway 17 (a notoriously dangerous mountain road) a lot, I could see why they posted Daylight Safety Section signs.

I think if they want to whinge about something, make it People Who Drive Massive Bloody SUVs Whose Retina-Burning Halogens Beam Directly Into Your Rearview Mirror.
...not as catchy I guess.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:38 PM on March 28, 2001


"...safety should never be annoying."
So I guess they support getting rid of seat belts too? Oh, and traffic lights, and speed limits, and child gun locks and those little safety seals on pills and milk. Oh, let's not forget that gas pump shutoff that is triggered if you tilt the pump 1/2 degree the wrong way. Oh I could go on.

At least make a solid argument if your platform is ridiculous.
posted by fooljay at 3:43 PM on March 28, 2001


Here here, Kafka. And also, let's lobby against people who don't understand that the headlights are supposed to be adjusted so that they hit the ground in front of your car (the left light pointed a few degrees inward as well) and not the back of the driver's head in front of you. It always looks like they have their brights on, until they actually turn them on at which point it looks more like an anti-aircraft light.
posted by fooljay at 3:45 PM on March 28, 2001


Sorry, daver. You posted your comment while I was making mine... Hehe...
posted by fooljay at 3:46 PM on March 28, 2001


DRLs are great. I notice that people are much less likely to change lanes into my "safety area" or fail to yield when I drive my wife's Jetta' which has them. I think you are much more visible to other drivers. Seat belts don't annoy me except when I'm trying to get my wallet out at the drive-thru. It's tough reaching into my back pocket. Otherwise, I feel weird without one on, and I have had my life saved by my seatbelt (hit by drunk going 50 while I was paying toll).
posted by gimli at 3:56 PM on March 28, 2001


Seatbelts are highly annoying as they're not forgiving for a variety of body shapes, and some cars are worse than others. I'm short, so most of the time, they cut across my neck instead of sitting over my shoulder. I still wear them all the time, though. And, there are now these little adjustor things that you can slip over the end of the seatbelt to help it fit better. At least I can use those in my own cars.

As for DRLs, I'm in favor of them. One of my big pet peeves are people who don't turn on their lights in poor light conditions. "I can see fine, so I don't need my headlights." Sorry, but if it's raining out and the sky is grey and the road is grey and you're in a grey car, you might as well be invisible if you don't have your lights on.
posted by phichens at 4:11 PM on March 28, 2001


[Note: Most of this is written as if I'm directing it at the owner of this site, because I plan on sending him a slightly modified copy]

I used to drive a rather small car (Geo Prism...at least it wasn't a Metro), so I can tell you all about those damn SUV's headlights. I swear, they are actually level with the rearview mirror of smaller cars.

Anyway, is it just me, or do these guys not merely have a bad argument, but almost none at all? I mean, let's look at some things on the About Page (Google cache 'cause the site's not responding for me)...

The original concept for DRLs was to compensate for a lighting deficiency. We don't have such a deficiency in the United States!

Yeah, 'cause, you know...when the sun goes down in the US, it does it all at once. None of this "dusk" and "dawn" crap for us, nosiree. None of these "cloudy days," nope.

Just what we need: Bright lights hitting your eyes while you're trying to drive a car on a busy highway!

I guess that, once you've gotten rid of DRLs, your next step is the abolishment of headlights everywhere? If you're that distracted by DRLs in the middle of the day, you may want to have your eyes checked. I'm serious.

The solution, logically, should be driver improvement.

So why aren't you focusing your efforts where you admit they're needed?

DRL use is arguably associated with improving one, maybe two types.

So safety should be all-or-nothing, hmm? If you can't solve everything all at once, then don't bother at all?

Lights will have to be replaced more frequently, and it will have to be done by auto service personnel.

The rest of the paragraph this is from has a point, but if you want to pay someone $80/hour because you can't be bothered with a screwdriver and a lightbulb, that's not my problem.

And from a different page...

You've probably been annoyed by them -- by the glare, the distraction, the stupidity.

No, no, and no. I have never seen glare from *daytime* running lights. There's this thing called the sun that's far brighter than they are, even when it's behind clouds, which causes me far more grief. Distraction? Buddy, I want to notice the cars that are coming at me. Anything that makes them easier for me to see is a good thing. The stupidity? Yeah, I bet you think the reflectors on the sides of the car are stupid, too. They're there for the same reason.

So, in short, the ideas have merit, but the approach is almost counterpoductive. I've seen a few examples on the site of how it could be done right -- light sensors to determine when they should and shouldn't be on (which some companies already do), not doing stupid things like making DRLs out of the high beams by running them at low voltage, better driver education... why not focus efforts on those goals, making DRLs a real safety improvement, rather than abolishing them entirely?

Then again, the "all-or-nothing" safety comment above can serve as an answer to that, eh? It's easier to get rid of something you don't like than it is to try and improve it.

Yikes...sorry for the huge post. Got carried away...
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:35 PM on March 28, 2001


They should ban people who don't want to switch off their brights when other people are coming, especially when you're tired and heading back from Colon at night.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:41 PM on March 28, 2001


I think the premise is that daytime running lights may make things safer for the people in the car using them, but only by making things more dangerous for other people. The difference between the annoyance of wearing a seatbelt and the annoyance of using daytime headlights is that, in the case of seatbelts, the person who bears the annoyance also derives the benefit. In the case of always-on headlights, they are largely invisible to the beneficiaries, and it's all the rest of us who are inconvenienced.

The sun is bright, yes, but unless it happens to be sunset in a coastal area, it's never pointed directly at my eyes. The sun also tends not to go wandering randomly around the sky; it's not going to suddenly dart into my field of vision. Not looking at the sun is a pretty straightforward skill. Headlights, by contrast, are attached to moving vehicles, which tend to swerve around, bounce over bumps, and oscillate vertically with the surface of the road. This makes them far more likely to focus their beams directly at your face without giving you any chance to look away first.

If I ever own a car with this system, I will do the courteous thing and disable it. In the meantime, I'm happy to have a dumb, old-fashioned car with lights that light up when I turn them on and go dark when I turn them off.

This is a safety solution like driving an SUV is a safety solution: it only works until everyone's doing it. Once that cycle of the arms race is over, what's next? Will you have to mount a strobe light to your bumper to stand out of the glare?

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:52 PM on March 28, 2001


It boggles the mind that someone would create such a Web page, to say nothing of such an organization. If that's a real organization, it would be interesting to speak with its principals. Just boggles the mind!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:53 PM on March 28, 2001


"I think the premise is that daytime running lights may make things safer for the people in the car using them, but only by making things more dangerous for other people."

I think you've got it backwards. DRLs aren't for the driver. The driver can't even see that they're on, after all. DRLs are for everyone else on the road, because they give your car enhanced visibility.

I prefer DRLs that don't use headlights, btw. The Pontiac Grand Prix I drive has a setting for lights that just turns on the side lights (normally blinkers and brake lights) at a lower level. It enhances visibility without using as much power or causing as much glare. Those are what I turn on at dusk. The headlights don't come on until I have trouble seeing.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:10 PM on March 28, 2001


Argh...twice now I've forgotten to mention this, so I'll make it brief... anyone look at their survey? Talk about poor writing and loaded questions...
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:11 PM on March 28, 2001


So I guess they support getting rid of seat belts too? Oh, and traffic lights

I'm all in favor of getting rid of (almost) all traffic lights across the US of A. Traffic circles work *so* much better. There's no worry about timing the lights for traffic flow, circles are lower maintainance than lights, speeding through intersections is much harder to do at a circle... I could go on...

and yet I keep hearing people curse about circles more often than DRL.

I like DRL. Helps me see people coming over hills, and the idiots that forget to turn on lights at dusk.
posted by salsamander at 5:25 PM on March 28, 2001


After I finish my first novel, name my first band, and update my blog, I'll put up a page about an idea I've had for a while. Headlight Hand-puppets great fun for any time you can make a butterfly or donkey head on the dashboard (from the headlights of the SUV that's tailgating you).

So look for it sometime next year.

There is one serious concern with DLRs at dusk. There are conditions underwhich a lit object on the horizion is actually more difficult to see than a dark object. I don't know if this effects DLRs or not. I doubt it actually, but who's to say.
posted by daver at 6:30 PM on March 28, 2001


Some background research on DRLs.

The use of daytime running lights was made mandatory for new cars in Norway in 1985 and for all cars in 1988. This paper examines the effectiveness of this regulation as an accident countermeasure.... Four hypotheses concerning the effects are tested. None of them was supported. The total number of multiparty accidents in daylight was not reduced. Pedestrian accidents and accidents during twilight were not reduced. The number of rear-end collisions increased by about 20%. Daytime running lights appear to reduce daytime multiparty accidents only during summer (by about 15%) and only for multivehicle accidents, excluding rear-end collisions.

I can't find out the status of this new NHTSA rule intended to reduce the glare of DRLs first by 50% then by 75%. But here's a June 2000 US NHTSA report [pdf] showing no difference in most fatal crashes (probably due to speed), but a 7% reduction in non-fatal crashes and a 28% reduction of pedestrian fatalities.
posted by dhartung at 7:24 PM on March 28, 2001


There is one serious concern with DLRs at dusk.

Daytime Lunning Rights? ;)

I oppose DRLs for one simple reason: they make drivers look like morons who can't remember to turn off their lights in the daytime. What's that I hear you say? They won't look like such morons when everyone knows about DRLs and understands drivers don't have a choice? No, then they'll look like morons for not disconnecting them!

I read a letter in some car magazine once from a driver who explained that DRLs really helped him, with his fading eyesight, see other cars on the road. Now, I don't know about you, but the last thing I want on every car is a feature that enables people who are going blind to continue driving.
posted by kindall at 8:59 PM on March 28, 2001


salsamander, I think you have a point. I love traffic circles. We have very few here but the ones where we do are wonderful. When I was in France recently I very much enjoyed them. However, it seems like they would be a bit harder on the pendestrian population, no?

And then there's always the stigma left over from the traumatic scene in European Vacation. Uhhh, no I didn't see it. Someone told me about it. uhhh, yeah...
posted by fooljay at 9:06 PM on March 28, 2001


I'm all in favor of getting rid of (almost) all traffic lights across the US of A. Traffic circles work *so* much better. There's no worry about timing the lights for traffic flow, circles are lower maintainance than lights, speeding through intersections is much harder to do at a circle... I could go on...

Ugh, I loathe traffic circles. New England is cursed with traffic circles all over the place. I have to drive through no less than four every day -- twice a day. Since we've had them for the better part of a century you'd think people would know how to correctly yield, enter, and exit, but they don't. Traffic circles are like black holes that pull cars in, colliding fenders, smashing bumpers, and then spitting the remains back out in many directions.

Hey! Maybe I should go form an angry advocacy organization and put up a website about it!
posted by briank at 6:51 AM on March 29, 2001


Two things:

1. DRLs would be fine to me if they were less intrusive on everyone else, but still were visible. I'm thinking a little more cylindrical and used partially for aesthetics.

2. Chicago added some traffic circles in the near north and north neighborhoods. Shortly after they were put in, a fire truck tried to get through and couldn't. Yes, someone forgot to take emergency vehicles into account, and the fire truck had to go over the traffic circle in order to fit. Later, the circles were downsized.
posted by hijinx at 7:11 AM on March 29, 2001


"The sun is bright, yes, but unless it happens to be sunset in a coastal area, it's never pointed directly at my eyes. The sun also tends not to go wandering randomly around the sky; it's not going to suddenly dart into my field of vision. "

The sun never wanders? If you're always driving in a straight line and not going up or down any hills maybe. On a recent long trip I found myself having it pop straight into my field of view every 30 seconds, and it was right on the horizon and glaring into my eyes many times (the coastal area thing ignores the fact that a lot of times, roads go uphill).

In my country, basically everyone uses DRLs, since it's been law for a while, and there is nothing bad about them, they do not distract anyone, people with an argument like that against them simply have not seen them in use. In the daytime, they seem basically as bright as a traffic light, and if that level of brightness is bothering you, you're too tired or stupid to drive. That's the secret of headlights: They're not really that bright, they just seem it at night when your pupils are dilated.
posted by beefula at 8:22 AM on March 29, 2001


Hey, there's an easy way to improve a traffic circle: turn it into a roundabout. They're also better than regular 4-ways in many situations. Dozens of US cities are experimenting with them.
posted by dhartung at 8:30 AM on March 29, 2001


I live in a densely populated, car-centric, traffic nightmare metropolitan area with lots of newish cars on the roads, and I can't remember a single time I've actively noticed daytime running lights on other cars.

My car (VW Golf) has them, but as mentioned above, I forget they exist. I didn't know they bothered people so much, or that you could disable them. I feel very rude that I haven't done it so far, actually. I'm sorry.
posted by jennyb at 8:51 AM on March 29, 2001


The creator of this (that) Web site is undoubtedly a .com casualty being paid for a while but having nothing to do. That's the only explanation. And we're all discussing this like it's for real. Reminds me of a column in Spy Magazine back in the 1980's wherein the author wrote to corporations complaining about fake, bizarre issues.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:57 AM on March 29, 2001


dhartung, I never realized that there was a difference between traffic circles and roudabouts. I think it's the roundabouts I liked in Europe so much...
posted by fooljay at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2001


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