TECH 5 – GHOST RIDERS

TECH 5Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program. This is Ben Harrison, sharing with you topics related to the use of technology used in everything from computers, I-pads, tablets and cell phones, to televisions and kitchen appliances. We live in a fast changing world of innovation and technology, requiring us to understand and deal with its challenges every day. I hope these brief discussions each day will assist with your learning journey.

Today, rather than discuss a specific high tech innovation, I’d like to share a serious complaint I have with drivers who not only practise dangerous driving habits behind the wheel, but refuse to use common sense that endangers the life of other drivers, pedestrians and themselves.

I’m talking about those drivers who at twilight, not only do not use the low beam headlights on their vehicle, but refuse to turn on even their parking lights. Tuesday evening at about 6:45 p.m. The official, Sunset time was 6:10 p.m., the time all drivers in SVG are legally required to have their headlights turned on). Except for a few lingering rays of light it was almost dark. I was driving from Kingstown to Argyle and noticed a high percentage of vehicles had no exterior lights turned on. Oncoming and overtaking dark ghost-like vehicles suddenly appeared, as if by magic, one approaching and the other in my rear view mirror.

If I couldn’t see either car until they were within 100 meters apart it is a sure bet they couldn’t see each other. If the overtaking car had been passing me a horrible head-on accident would have occurred. The reality is that some drivers risk a personal tragedy by pushing twilight into night before turning on their headlights.

The traffic law in St. Vincent states very clearly, that headlights must be turned on at sunset. I verified this at the Central Police Station in Kingstown and was assured that ignoring the law was a punishable offence.

Going one step further, there have been numerous studies on the effectiveness of daytime running conducted over the last three decades. According to European studies the potential accident reduction using daytime running lights are:

· 25% of daytime multi-vehicle fatal crashes

· 28% of daytime fatal pedestrian crashes

· 20% of daytime multi-vehicle injury crashes

· 12% of daytime multi-vehicle property crashes.

With the largest savings in high severity crashes, including head-on and intersection crashes.

In Finland, Hungary, Canada and all Scandinavian countries, daytime running lights are now mandatory.

A great deal of scientific knowledge and technology has fueled the research on vehicle lighting. It is solid research on the number of lumens required to offset reduced ambient lighting at twilight and dawn and the angle of light beams emitted and other scientific terms.  Explaining specific finding and data, goes well beyond the scope of the five minutes available today, but the objective of headlight rules and these comments is very clear: to see and to be seen by other vehicles and pedestrians.

Even though statistically they make sense, I am not arguing for mandatory daytime running lights – yet – but I am arguing for the police to step up their enforcement of persons not using headlights after sunset and for all drivers to use common sense when driving during and after that dangerous period from twilight into darkness.

While I am on the subject of pet peeves on the highways; “Curses” on those drivers who both approach and come up from behind without dimming their blinding high beam lights and on pedestrians who walk along the edge of the highway, especially in unlit areas, wearing dark clothes.

Whether you are a vehicle owner or operator, experienced driver or learner, or a pedestrian, use courtesy and common sense so you and other users of our roads and highways arrive at their destination safely. The life you save may be your own.

This is Ben Harrison from EEZEE Radio 91.1 AND 102.7 on your FM DIAL in St. Vincent and the Grenadines