High Beam Lights: The Harsh Reality of Night-Time Driving in Pakistan

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When it comes to driving etiquettes, people from Pakistan and especially Lahore, in general, can contend for the title of ‘the worst drivers in the world.’ How can I claim that? The blatant disrespect for driving rules, traffic laws, personal & pedestrian safety is clearly evident from their driving style. All of us may have, at some point, demonstrated few -if not all- characteristics of reckless driving. However, this article is specifically about high beams and our infatuation with it.

First thing’ first, we as a nation have this haunting notion of turning the headlights ‘ON’ with high beams, only. Even though the manufacturers of cars clearly show a bold blue high beam icon on the gauge cluster to indicate what type of beam they are using. We, Pakistani’, turn a blind eye to this notification and continue onwards on our merry way without a care about the implications or effects of full beam headlights in a congested area. Don’t understand what I am rambling about? Observe a road at night, and you’ll notice that 9 out of 10 cars will drive by with a high beam. So, I thought to compile a collection of the reasons, effects, and ways to control it; as a personal effort to spread some knowledge about this highly ignored issue.

Reasons:

  1. Lack of awareness of the discomfort it causes + Rules when it should be used
  2. Non-aligned headlights which automatically become high beams even in normal mode
  3. Usage of Cheap HIDS/Aftermarket lights which are brighter than the sun
  4. Look at my bright lights, don’t I look awesome while blinding everybody in the near vicinity?
  5. Everyone else is using it, so why not me?
  6. Some Local cars have poor quality headlights. Their light throw is very less in normal mode. So to compensate for it, high beams are constantly used
  7. No education about driving etiquette, road signs and most importantly no license.

Effects:

  1. Discomfort/nuisance to other drivers on the road
  2. Safety hazard for others on the road, as some high beams are completely blinding and the eyes need a lot of time to readjust, therefore it impairs the visibility of oncoming traffic by glare effect as well as distract the cars ahead of you.

Possible ways to address this issue:

  1. A Proper awareness campaign should be launched nationwide to educate the drivers on the proper use of headlights.
  2. New cars should have proper brightness, and adjustment levels, so high beam is used only when required.
  3. After market lights/HIDs should be banned or at least regulated. The safe ones should be allowed in the market and that too with proper fitting and output level adjustment
  4. Driving schools should be established to properly educate the drivers on best driving practices.
  5. Traffic police should stop cars and administrate strict action against any vehicle with high beams within congested areas.

Just like every situation does require brute force as a solution, similarly, it is not a good idea to use High beams all the time, especially when they are not necessary. We should be considerate to the safety and well-being of others on the roads as any road is a shared place, which means we should use them sensibly and responsibly.

 

 

Mujtaba Abbas

In a parallel world, Mujtaba a.k.a MJ is an avid Environmentalist and a Public Servant. In this realm he is a die hard automotive enthusiast who seeks to create awareness in the minds of the readers and sincerely believes "Tabdeeli aanay hi waali hai :P

Notable Replies

  1. HIDs should be banned

  2. Adequate reflectors on road indicating where the road is leading and what lies ahead is also important. Usually Hi-beam is used by drivers to drive safely and not hit some thing on the road.

  3. I have a solution... impose the following penalties and observe most of the "janwar" will become "insaan"
    1. Driving without license: Bail on Rs. 30,000 otherwise 3 months jail.
    2. Signal violation: Rs. 5000 fine.
    3. High beam use at night: Rs. 3000 fine.
    4. Aggressive/unsafe driving: Rs. 3000 fine.
    5. Roadside parking violation: Rs. 5000 fine.
    6. Over speeding: Rs. 5000 fine.
    7. Lane violation: Rs. 1000 fine.
    After second penalty within a month licence should be confiscated for 6 months.
    These rules should apply to ALL including rickshaw, motorcycle and chingchi and traffic police and police should monitor traffic on busy roads... at least with this income more traffic police jobs will be created.

  4. Whole story is completely matching to your id name... this is totally @dangtepau solution. It will only increase the amount of rishwat... cz no one there to check the police men if they are honestly imposing the fine or just blackmailing the people like you and me.

  5. You think rishwat (corruption) exist only in Pakistan... the so called highly honest countries have corruption in public dealing departments... I have witnessed that myself in Scandinavia. Although most of the corruption in those countries are organized crimes, still police is corrupt there and they do have heavy fines for traffic violations... and it works!

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